News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Everyone loved him.' Family of National Guardsman Bishop Evans remembers him fondly

Texas Army National Guard Specialist Bishop Evans wears a black shirt with "Army" written in yellow letters. He holds a dumbbell while posing in front of the United States and Texas flags. Evans, a San Antonio native who lived in Arlington, was found dead April 25, 2022, after trying to rescue migrants trying to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States.
Courtesy Mansfield Independent School District
Bishop Evans poses in front of Texas and U.S. flags. Evans went missing while trying to rescue migrants crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico into the United States. His body was found April 25.

Relatives of Texas Army National Guard Specialist Bishop Evans remember him as a compassionate man who was often the life of the party.

Melvin Braziel, part of Evans' family in San Antonio, watched the 22-year-old grow up. He said in an email the family was impressed with the energy and intelligence Evans displayed through his time in the Boy Scouts of America as well as different groups affiliated with Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in San Antonio.

"Everyone loved him," Braziel said in the email. "He seemed to be older for his age at the time. He had the ability to show his love and concern for others. He was a volunteer and was willing to help with whatever he was asked to do."

Evans' body was found Monday, days after he dove into the Rio Grande to rescue two migrants who appeared to be drowning. The river's current swept Evans under on April 22 and slowed down rescue efforts across state agencies.

Jo Ann Johnson, his grandmother who raised him, told WFAA at a press conference Monday evening she was not surprised to hear he died trying to help others.

"He wouldn't ask you who you were before he tried to help you. He just wouldn't," Johnson said.

Evans graduated from Mansfield High School in 2018, where he was a member of the JROTC drill team. He was recruited to the National Guard in 2019 and served as a field artilleryman assigned to A Battery, 4-133 Field Artillery Regiment in New Braunfels, according to the state military department. He was mobilized in 2020 to Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait and was regularly assigned to operations in Iraq in support of Special Operations Forces.

Evans was assigned to Operation Lone Star, Gov. Greg Abbott's border initiative.

"We are devastated by the loss of a member of our Guard family," Maj. Gen. Tom Suelzer, Texas adjutant general, said in a written statement. "We recognize the selflessness of this heroic Soldier who put his life above others in service to our state and national security."

Evans' family told WFAA he always wanted to serve. He also enjoyed anime, game nights and dancing.

Dakota Pettifer is a friend Evans met at Mansfield High School's anime club. Evans supported Pettifer and would roll down his window to call to her and make jokes while she walked home.

"He was a really chill, really funny guy," Pettifer said.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today.Thank you.

Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.