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Death of Officer William Evans in new attack is another hit for staggered Capitol Police

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Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman pays respects to U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick as an urn with his cremated remains lies in honor on a black-draped table at center of Capitol Rotunda, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Washington. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool) ORG XMIT: NYNYT413

The pain in the voice of acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman was as plain as the tragedy that had unfolded minutes before she stepped to the microphones Friday.

Not yet three months after rioters stormed the Capitol, leaving one officer dead and more than 130 others injured, Pittman announced the loss of another officer and injuries to a second in a new attack when a 25-year-old man rammed his vehicle into a barricade shielding Capitol’s north side.

The fallen officer in Friday’s attack was identified as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year member of the force who served on the agency’s First Responder’s Unit.

The second injured officer, who was not identified, was reported in stable condition late Friday.  

US Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans.

“It is with a heavy heart that I come here this afternoon to shed some light on the incident that occurred at United States Capitol,” Pittman said in a halting voice before announcing the officer’s death and appealing for the public’s prayers.

“This has been a difficult time for the U.S. Capitol Police after the events of January 6th and now the events that have occurred here today,” Pittman said.

More:1 officer killed, another hospitalized after man drives car into barrier near US Capitol. Suspect dead.

U.S. Capitol Police officers near a car that crashed into a barrier on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, April 2, 2021.

That Pittman was the one leading Friday’s briefing was surely not lost on the traumatized agency’s law enforcement partners who stood with her.

Pittman assumed command shortly after the Jan. 6 riots when then-Capitol police chief Steven Sund resigned, along with the chief law enforcement officers of the House and Senate.

The leadership purge came as it was disclosed that Officer Brian Sicknick had died following a clash with the Jan. 6 rioters. The cause of Sicknick’s death has not yet been determined, but the department was staggered just days later by the  suicide of another officer, Howard Liebengood, 51, a 16-year veteran of the force.

On Friday, Evans joined the ranks of the fallen in an agency that has had little time to regain its footing.

President Joe Biden said he was “heartbroken” to learn of the attack and Evans’ death, and that he ordered the White House flags to be lowered to half-staff “as we mourn the loss of yet another Capitol Police officer.”

“We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss,” Biden said in a statement. “We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it.”

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