Thousands of cops line streets for funeral of fourth NYPD officer shot dead in line of duty

Thousands of officers braved heavy rain and winds on Wednesday to attend the funeral of a New York City police officer who was slain on patrol.

The officers lined rain-swept streets for blocks outside a Queens church where family and friends gathered to pay tribute to Officer Randolph Holder, some waiting in the cold for hours.

Holder, a five-year veteran, was killed on October 20 while responding to a report of shots fired and a bicycle stolen at gunpoint in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood.

Holder’s fiancee, Mary Muhammed, was so emotional when she spoke about her late boyfriend at the funeral, that she needed two friends to stand by her side.

In her speech, Muhammed explained how she had faced a lot of tragedies in life, but how Holder had inspired her to have courage.

‘Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you and to have strength in the face of pain or grief. To simply wear the uniform of an officer is an act of courage. You have chosen to be both target and hero,’ Muhammed said. ‘It could be argued that to be a loved one of an officer we choose the same fate – but less choose to be heroes.’

Speaking during the service Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Bill De Blasio paid tribute to the ‘remarkable man’ who ‘made us better by his presence.’

‘This was a man who lived life so fully and gave so much to so many. He was not about himself.

‘Officer Randolph Holder was dedicated to others, to his family and to all the people of this city – he was dedicated to making a difference in their lives,’ the mayor said.

De Blasio went on to say that Holder was a role model for the city’s youth.

‘Through his teachings, his words, his actions he showed young people what discipline and hard work can achieve and he showed them that if you believe in something it can become possible,’ the mayor said. ‘Officer Holder loved the people he served and they loved him back.’

The mayor also referenced Holder’s father and grandfather, who were police officers in Guyana (Holder will be buried there later this week).

‘The police are our guardians. They are of and by and for us,’ de Blasio said. ‘Randolph Holder never stopped thinking about his heritage and his family, and he knew that he came from a family of guardians. And he showed us how to stay true to that tradition.’

Police commissioner Bill Bratton also spoke at the ceremony, commending Holder for the way he risked his life to protect others.

Bratton said Holder ‘lived as a guardian, watching over the good, and died like a warrior…The job was certainly his calling.’

Bratton post-posthumously promoted Holder to first-grade detective and awarded him the shield number his father used as a police officer in Guyana.

In addition to the hundreds of fellow NYPD officers who attended the funeral on Wednesday were cops from all over the nation.

Isiah Harris, of the Tukwila, Washington police department told CBS New York: ‘In Washington State we often see a lot of support for our fallen from the East Coast and so we would just like to return the favor.From what I can tell the community really appreciated him, and his coworkers looked up to him and that says a lot.’

‘A few years ago we had four officers in Lakewood who were killed at the same time and it brings it home,’ Tukwila Police Sgt. Todd Rossi added.

Brittney Saxon, a NYPD cop who graduated from the police academy with Holder in 2010, told the New York Daily News that her classmate was a courageous cop.

‘He’s a kind-hearted person,’ Saxon said. ‘He was one of the great cops that we lost. He went toward the shooters, not away. So that shows his bravery.’

Authorities have accused Tyrone Howard of hopping off the stolen bicycle and shooting Holder in the head. His attorney has said there are missing details in the case.

According to police, minutes before Holder’s death, Howard, 30, was involved in a gun battle with rival gang members on the roof of the building at 420 East 102nd Street.

Howard fled the scene and allegedly robbed a passing bystander of his bicycle at gunpoint. Officer Holder and his partner, both in plain clothes, were on foot patrol nearby and were called to the scene.

Howard put down the bike as the officers approached him and opened fire, it is claimed. One of the shots hit Holder in the head.

Holder’s partner, Officer Omar Wallace, fired back at Howard, hitting him in the leg.

Howard was later apprehended, arrested and hospitalized about 9pm on October 20. Holder was pronounced dead in hospital some time later.

After Holder was shot, the gunman ditched the bike and took off, apparently throwing his weapon into the river, police said.

On Sunday, NYPD’s SCUBA unit recovered a .40 Glock pistol from the Harlem River ‘consistent’ with the weapon used to kill Officer Holder.

The suspect is a career criminal who was also wanted in connection to a drug-related shooting in September.

He had been arrested for a East Harlem shooting that killed an 11-year-old girl in 2009, but not indicted.

Howard was arraigned Wednesday and charged with murder and robbery.

Source: The DailyMail

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