ADAMS — Hundreds of law enforcement personnel gathered under rainy skies Thursday for a funeral Mass for slain US Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans, a North Adams native who died April 2 when a vehicle rammed into him and another officer at a barricade just 100 yards from the Senate side of the Capitol.
The body of Evans, 41, rested in honor Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda. The private funeral was held Thursday at Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church in Adams and was followed by a private burial in this Western Massachusetts town where he grew up.
Police officers from across Massachusetts gathered outside the Catholic church for the 11 a.m. service, while local residents lined the street, watching solemnly as Evans’s flag-draped casket was carried inside.
About 100 State Police troopers stood at attention in front of the church doors, and a large American flag rested above the entrance, held up by an Adams Fire Department firetruck. MBTA Transit Police and Boston Special Operations officers lined Hoosac Street with motorcycles, blue lights flashing. A number of Capitol Police officers filed into the church for the service, dressed in black and white formal attire.
Adams resident Cherylene Czaja-Hillard, who went to high school with Evans’s mother, Janice, stood on a street corner across from the church, taping the procession with a video camera.
“I went to school with Janice; we graduated together. I was shocked,” Czaja-Hillard said. “She gave birth to a child that protected our president, vice president, Congress, and our Senate. What a sacrifice. I had to come out to pay my respects.”
Jane Mevares, of Adams, said she has known the family since high school. She stood in a group on a storefront near the church.
“I was devastated, I was really sad when I heard the news,” said Mevares, who also attended high school with Evans’s mother. “Not that I knew [Evans] personally, but just knowing the family — and the North Adams and Adams communities are so tightknit — I think everyone feels for each other.”
“It shouldn’t have happened, but it did,” said Greg Trottier, an Adams resident. “Everybody was in shock. In a big city or something like that it’s different, but when it happens somewhere like here — it’s just terrible. I didn’t personally know him, but I’m just here to pay my respects.”
Steve Magargal, of Worthington, said it was important to make the roughly 45-minute drive from his home to Adams to pay tribute to Evans.
“It’s awful; the guy’s got a family,” Magargal said of Evans, a father of two small children.
Evans’s obituary described him as a dedicated public servant and father.
“He was always eager to spend time with his children, and immensely proud of everything they did,” said the obituary, posted to the website of the Paciorek Funeral Home. “They would always say they had the best time with their Daddioski.”
The notice also referenced his athletic passions.
“He participated in bowling and baseball leagues throughout his life,” the obituary said. “When he moved to Burke, Virginia, he brought with him his love of the Red Sox and Patriots. As an adult, he grew to love tabletop and board games and joined a community of players who became great friends.”
Evans attended elementary school in North Adams and graduated from Drury High School in 1998 before earning a degree at Western New England College in 2002, becoming a Capitol officer in Washington the following year, the notice said.
“He has been a member of the First Responder Unit for over 15 years and assigned at the North Barricade, where his fellow officers came to lovingly call him ‘King of the North,’” the obituary said.
The Capitol Police said he was the department’s sixth officer to die in the line of duty. He was the second from Massachusetts. John Gibson, a Waltham native, was one of two officers killed in 1998 when a man entered the Capitol and fired a handgun.
Evans’s death came about three months after fellow Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after suffering injuries in a clash with insurrectionists who stormed the building Jan. 6. Two men have been charged with assaulting Sicknick with bear spray.
The driver of the car that fatally struck Evans, Noah Green, 25, exited the vehicle with a knife and was shot to death by police, officials said.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com.