New York Daily News

September 17, 2004

Outpouring for 2nd slain cop

BY NANCY DILLON and BILL HUTCHINSON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

   Hero cop’s longtime girlfriend, Tawanna Jackson, gets helping hand outside Queens funeral home yesterday.
  Hero cop’s longtime girlfriend, Tawanna Jackson, gets helping hand outside Queens funeral home yesterday.

With tears streaking their faces and black bands over their badges, cops filled a Queens funeral home yesterday to honor a fallen comrade whose heart was as big as his stature. Detective Robert Parker was remembered as the finest of the Finest, a relentless crimebuster with a sense of humor that made him an enduring figure in Brooklyn's 67th Precinct.

"Parker was larger than life, in size and personality," said Carl McLaughlin, who worked with the burly, 43-year-old cop.

Parker and his partner, Detective Patrick Rafferty, 39, were gunned down last Friday night in East Flatbush - allegedly by an ex-con whose mother had asked the two to protect her from him.

As he lay mortally wounded, Parker's last words to a dispatcher helped cops catch the alleged killer, Marlon Legere, 28. "I have a photo of the guy who shot me on my dashboard," the officer radioed before he died.

Parker's girlfriend of nearly 20 years, Tawanna Jackson, 37, sat near his open casket at Grace Funeral Home in Cypress Hills accepting condolences from 4,000 mourners, including Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Pataki and Rafferty's widow, Eileen.

"I lost my best friend. He was the best," said the tearful Jackson, who met Parker on her 18th birthday. "He could just make you laugh about anything. If you had a problem, he'd take it, twist it and make a joke out of it.

"If he was here, he'd tell us all to stop crying, go to Junior's and have a drink," she said, referring to Parker's favorite Brooklyn restaurant.

Her daughter, Tahisha Jackson, 20, described Parker as a loving father who reared her.

"I loved him more than you could ever know," she said. "Every time I told him I loved him, he'd say, 'I love you more.' Those were his last words to me."

Photos of Parker were posted on a board at the funeral home. One showed him smiling on a beach. Another was of him dressed in a "Phantom of the Opera" costume for Halloween

Detective Joe Calabrese of the 67th Precinct described both Parker and Rafferty, who was laid to rest Wednesday, as topnotch cops.

"If you had to go out and get somebody, those were the two guys to take with you," Calabrese said.

A funeral for Parker will be held today at 10 a.m. at the Christian Cultural Center on Flatlands Ave. in Brooklyn.