Thousands pay respects to first murdered NYPD officer to be laid to rest and hear his heartbroken son speak of his ‘hero’ at the wake… but embattled Mayor de Blasio arrives after it’s over.
Thousands of police officers from around the country and joined Rafael Ramos’ heartbroken family at a church in Queens to remember the slain cop nearly a week after he was shot dead while on duty.
The 40-year-old police officer’s wife, Maritza, and two teenage sons entered Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale on Friday afternoon as thousands of uniformed officers lined the streets, with many waiting late into the night.
Some queued for more than five blocks to get into the venue. When it was full to capacity, they waited outside to watch the emotional service unfold.
Crowds also gathered as Ramos’ casket – draped in an NYPD flag – was carried into the church by officers. Some officers stood in a line and saluted, while others embraced each other for support.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made a brief appearance at 9pm amid a storm of criticism into his handling of protests in recent weeks.
He got out of his SUV outside the venue and did not speak to the waiting media, however he is expected to address the funeral on Saturday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Commissioner Bill Bratton were among the officials at the service who spoke.
Cuomo told the New York Daily News: ‘These were two men who had families, young families. Officer Ramos had two young boys who he was raising and a beautiful wife. And to lose their father this way, such an unexpected way, at this time of year, is truly, truly difficult.’
Ramos’ older son, Justin, gave an emotional speech to the packed church and those watching outside, paying tribute to his father who had been on the force for two years.
Read more: Daily Mail