New York 1 News

September 16, 2004

First Funeral Held For Fallen NYPD Detectives

One of the two NYPD detectives murdered in the line of duty last week was laid to rest Wednesday.

   

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were among the thousands of mourners at Patrick Rafferty's funeral at St Mary's church in East Islip, Long Island. Kelly said the slain detective relentlessly and fearlessly pursued dangerous criminals, and friends described him as a family man who loved country music, hunting and gourmet cooking.

“From the first day we got the call and every day that has passed, it has been hard to deal with, the fact that when we go back to the precinct, they’re not going to be there,” said NYPD Detective Nelson Figueroa.

"We came into this squad together," said NYPD Detective Eric Torres. "I came for patrols as a white shield officer doing detective work. Any question I had, the two people I would go to were Bobby Parker, and Pat Rafferty

Rafferty, 39, was remembered as a devoted husband and father of three, a 15-year veteran of the police force with more than 400 career arrests. He fought crime up until his last breath, getting off a shot and wounding the man charged with murdering him and Parker.

"He had enough presence of mind to return fire, which helped us wind up catching the guy, because the guy was injured, so until the end, he did what he was supposed to do," said another detective, Carl McLaughlin.

Still, McLaughlin says the department will be grieving.

“It’s sad; I can’t put it into words. But I know we have to go on, and we have to protect the citizens of New York City. We’ll grieve, we’ll cry, we’ll hug each other and we’ll go on."

An estimated 15,000 fellow police officers lined the route of the funeral procession to pay their respects.

“We all know that on any given day, this could be one us,” said Sergeant John Johnson of the Suffolk County Police Department. “We’re here to support each other – we have to.”

During the service, the police commissioner called Rafferty a fearless and reckless pursuer of dangerous criminals. Friends say he was a family man: one of six kids, a hero to many cousins, nieces and nephews in his big Irish-American family.

His other loves included country music, hunting and creating in the kitchen. He was known at the 67 precinct as "the cook."

The wake for the other officer, Robert Parker, will be held Thursday at the Grace Funeral Chapel in the City Line section of Brooklyn. His funeral is set for Friday morning at the Christian Cultural Center in Canarsie.

At the mayor's request, both detectives were posthumously promoted on Tuesday to first-grade detective, the NYPD's highest detective rank. That will boost their pensions for their families.

“It is a small thing you can do,” Bloomberg said. “It’s a way of saying thank you for all the service. But I think you have to put it in perspective. There’s nothing we can do to bring back the lives of two people who were risking their lives for the rest of us.”

Parker and Rafferty were shot to death Friday night with one of their own guns while attempting to arrest an ex-convict during a domestic disturbance call. The alleged gunman, 28-year-old Marlon Legere, who was shot in the legs by Rafferty, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges on Monday.