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'I just became brave': Children of fallen US Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans honor their dad's memory

11-year-old Logan Evans was an honorary member of Operation Deep Blue, a kayaking challenge to support surviving families of law enforcement and service members.

OXON HILL, Md. — On a chilly fall morning at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, 11-year-old Logan Evans suited up for Operation Deep Blue, a kayaking challenge to raise money for the family of law enforcement and military members who died in the line of duty.

As Logan’s 9-year-old sister Abigail and mom Shannon Terranova looked on, Logan climbed into a tandem kayak three times his size, seemingly unphased by the challenge in front of him. After all, Logan and Abigail were no strangers to Operation Deep Blue or the group's mission.

Days earlier, as Abigail played with a Lego replica of the U.S. Capitol in her mom’s playroom, she explained how Logan joined the Operation Deep Blue team.

“He worked at the North Barricade,” Abigail said.

“On the day that he died, April 2, 2021, I was so excited because it was a Friday and dad was going to pick me up.”

Officer Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force, never made it. U.S. Capitol Police say a lone wolf driver rammed his vehicle into Evans and another Capitol Police Officer guarding the North Barricade. Officer Evans' partner survived. Evans did not.

The suspect was shot and killed by police at the scene, and the motive for his attack remains a mystery.

Four police officers and a priest arrived at the house of Evans' former wife, Shannon Terranova, to deliver the news.

“This is not where we should be,” Terranova said, fighting back tears. “I'm just sad. It should not be anyone's reality. They should be growing up with their father. They just should.”

Logan described getting the news.

“At first, I'm like, you're like you're not telling the truth,” Logan remembers telling the group who notified the family of Officer Evans' death. “But then, um, I came down in the middle of the night – mom was watching the news. And then it said it on the news. And then I felt bad that I was telling them that they were lying.”

“Over time, it's gotten a little easier,” Logan said. “But not that much.”

As he spoke, Logan hugged a teddy bear made from one of his dad’s old Capitol Police uniforms.

“It says this is a shirt I used to wear whenever you hold it I am there,” Logan said as he read the inscription on the teddy bear's foot.

Terranova said she has been inspired by the children’s resilience in the 18 months since their father’s death.

“It's more that they can be the ones to light up your day,” Terranova said. “They can be the ones to remind you why you keep going. Because there's no other choice.”

“Dad’s probably right there,” Abigail said as she pointed to an empty space on the couch between her and Logan. “Just because we can’t see him doesn’t mean he’s not there.”

Logan said he knows he and his sister have had to grow up faster than most children their age.

“It just happened,” he said. “I just became brave.”

Abigail agreed.

“I kind of feel like it was dad’s spirit lifting me up and trying to get me to keep on going,” she said.

You could see Logan channeling Officer Evans' spirit as he kayaked more than 30 miles with Operation Deep Blue over two days, his father's photo pinned to his life vest. At times, Operation Deep Blue fought through heavy wind and rough waters, before finishing the emotional journey at the DC Wharf.

There, bagpipes played next to an eternal flame alongside other family members who lost loved ones in the line of duty who were being honored by Operation Deep Blue.

“What kept them going is thinking about their honorees,” said Operation Deep Blue Vice President Charlie Atie as he addressed family members during a moving tribute to conclude the kayak. “And I want the surviving family members to know that you remain in our hearts, in our minds and in our heart every day.”

Operation Deep Blue President Thomas Hauck gave Logan the special placard bearing his father’s photo to take home.

”You’re going to leave with that placard and now it’s the placard that you carry,” Hauck said.

Officer Billy Evans, forever watching over Abigail and Logan. Just as he watched over the North Barricade of the U.S. Capitol.

“I feel like there is a little door in my heart that he can go in,” Abigail said. “I feel like it’s probably pretty cozy in there.”

In a statement, Assistant Chief Sean Gallagher of the U.S. Capitol Police told WUSA9:

“Billy Evans’ family will forever be part of our U.S. Capitol Police family. We will never be able to fill the void Billy left behind, but we will try to honor his bravery and 18-years of service by supporting Shannon, Logan, Abigail, and the entire family every chance we get. We will be there for them, just like Billy was there for us and for our mission.”

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