Grim Rituals of Sorrow and Comfort at Officer Randolph Holder’s Funeral

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Grim Rituals of Sorrow and Comfort at Officer Randolph Holder’s Funeral.

As rain poured down Wednesday, hundreds of New York Police Department officers streamed into a Queens church to bid farewell to fallen Officer Randolph Holder.For the fourth time in less than a year, they gathered: rank-and-file New York City police officers in their dress blue uniforms, colleagues from distant departments, ordinary New Yorkers thrust into mourning by the killing of yet another officer.In a touching tribute, the casket of slain NYPD Officer Randolph Holder will be carried off a plane in his native Guyana on Thursday by six members of the NYPD’s special ceremonial unit, sources told The Post. Officers from all over the country were expected to converge on the funeral for the 33-year-old officer, who was shot last Tuesday in East Harlem after responding to a call of shots fired and a bicycle stolen at gunpoint.

The funeral follows a day-long wake Tuesday that drew hundreds of police officers and everyone from Mayor de Blasio to top cop Bill Bratton, his predecessor Ray Kelly, Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the families of several other fallen hero cops. Officer Holder later died in Harlem Hospital, the fourth NYPD officer to die in the line of duty in 10 months. “We wanted to pay respects to the fallen officer,” he said, a black ribbon stripped over his badge to commemorate the officer. “We re all here as one.” “I’m proud as a Guyanese that this officer put a bright Guyanese on the map,” said Loraine Stephen, 63, a retired nursing assistant from Jamaica, Queens, who emigrated from Guyana 30 years ago. “He came to this country and was very useful to society.” She arrived at 9 a.m., wearing a Guyanese flag scarf around her neck and holding a matching umbrella, and brought her own chair to sit in support during the funeral. He represented our tradition of trying to make this place better for everyone, and made the ultimate sacrifice.” Across the city, officers rose on Wednesday, black mourning bands around their badges, to take part in the majestic ritual — the bagpipes and flag-draped coffin, the helicopter flyover and motorcycle-led procession — all the while contemplating the dangers that stalk the most routine patrol.

In December, a gunman fatally shot two uniformed officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street before taking his own life. On Tuesday, a day before Officer Holder’s funeral, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Tyrone Howard, a repeat drug offender from the East River Houses, in the killing. The authorities believe he had been fleeing the scene of a shooting near his home when he encountered Officer Holder around 8:30 p.m. and fired one time from a .40-caliber Glock handgun, striking him in the head. A decorated officer who worked with a plainclothes unit in some of Manhattan’s most crime-troubled housing developments, he checked in regularly with relatives in Lodge, his hometown suburb of Georgetown, Guyana.

Though privately he fretted over the presence of guns on the streets he patrolled, on the night of Oct. 20, he and a partner, Omar Wallace, went toward the promenade, along the Harlem River, where an armed gunman had been seen fleeing. At noon, Leeds Jean, a member of the 67th Precinct’s clergy council, stepped outside in a long royal blue shirt and black skullcap and blew six times from a shofar, a horn. “The shofar sound is the sound of mourning,” said Mr.

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