‘We are heartbroken:’ Central Florida leaders react to news of Capitol officer’s death

Officials say officer was rammed by knife-wielding suspect

The United States Capitol Police department is mourning once again.

WASHINGTON – The United States Capitol Police department is mourning once again.

On Friday, a man rammed his car into a barricade, striking two officers, before he got out of the vehicle brandishing a knife, according to authorities.

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The two officers were taken to hospitals, where Capitol Police officer William “Billy” Evans died. Evans was hired in 2003 and served the department for 18 years.

The culprit was shot to death.

Evans’ death marks the third the department has experienced this year alone.

On Jan. 6, a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump pushed past police and made their way inside the Capitol building, clashing with officers all the while.

U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died the day after the riot due to injuries he suffered. Two men are accused of dousing him with bear spray during the melee but it’s unclear whether that played a role in his death. CNN reports that investigators initially believed Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher but later determined that wasn’t the case.

US Capitol scene.

Before Sicknick could be laid to rest, Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood took his own life on Jan. 9 at 51 years old. He was also among the officers who responded to the siege.

Knowing the recent tragedies the department has endured, Central Florida leaders were quick to offer their sympathy, support and solidarity Friday afternoon. Below are some of their messages.

US Congressman Darren Soto of Kissimmee said seeing images of Friday’s assault, reminded him of the attack on Jan. 6.

“It reminded me today being one of the last 10 members of congress trapped in the chamber,” Soto said.

Rep. Bill Posey of Brevard County said over the years he’s formed special bonds with U.S. Capitol Police officers.

“It’s heartbreaking. We know so many of them. I don’t know which ones were down in this one, but you get to know them.” Posey said.

Congressman Michael Waltz said it appears to be an isolated incident and not a part of a larger attack.

“Completely and totally grateful to the Capitol police who protect us up on Capitol Hill day in and day out. These types of lone-wolf attacks have happened over the years,” Waltz said.

Former Florida Congressman Bill McCollum said the security checkpoint where Friday’s assault took place has been a part of the security perimeter for years.

“Our nation is a free nation and it’s about people and our Capitol should have access to the public, I believe. And yes, there were rightful precautions taken for a while after January the 6th,” McCollum said.