New York Daily News

September 18, 2004

He touched so many

Eulogies tell how slain city detective will be missed, even by guys he busted

BY MICHELE McPHEE
DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU CHIEF

   Family watches beloved Detective Robert Parker’s coffin being removed from Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn after memorial service for murdered hero.
  Family watches beloved Detective Robert Parker’s coffin being removed from Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn after memorial service for murdered hero.
   
  Flag is presented to Parker’s mom after service where thousands of cops and Mayor Bloomberg honored fallen cop.
  Flag is presented to Parker’s mom after service where thousands of cops and Mayor Bloomberg honored fallen cop.

Mobsters would thank him him for subpoenas. Murder suspects would confess under his "Vulcan mind meld." Mothers of troubled men turned to him for help.

At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, slain NYPD Detective Robert Parker was a massive man, but his size belied a gentle spirit.

Parker's caseload - scribbled notes on crimes detailing horrors most people cannot fathom - did not dampen his compassion.

It was that nature that prompted Parker to grab his fellow 67th Precinct detective, Patrick Rafferty, the night of Sept. 10 and race to the home of a terrified mother to confront her drug-addled son.

The encounter with that perp would be the last for both hero detectives.

Parker, 43, and Rafferty, his 39-year-old partner, were killed in the line of duty that night. Rafferty's funeral Wednesday drew thousands of cops to an East Islip, L.I., church. Yesterday was Parker's sad turn.

"Those who get the most out of life are those who give to others," Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday while speaking at Parker's memorial service in the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, Brooklyn.

Bloomberg recalled how Parker managed to describe the alleged killer, Marlon Legere, to a 911 operator, directing the dispatcher to a mug shot of the gunman on the dashboard of his police vehicle.

"He was a cop until his last breath," Bloomberg said. "Brooklyn's favorite son."

It seemed that all of Brooklyn knew Bobby Parker yesterday as thousands of cops ringed the sprawling church to salute the fallen hero.

Four cops collapsed, possibly exhausted from two funerals in three days for their brethren and the stifling humidity.

The cops were joined by civilians - regular people whose lives were touched by Parker.

"He was a good man," remembered Emma Mae Johnson, 62, who stood on the street as Parker's coffin was brought into the church. "He had a good soul. He was a good cop."

Being a cop was all Parker ever wanted. Born and bred in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, he studied cop movies and idolized lawmen on the big and little screens.

He had a ring just like Tom Selleck's on "Magnum P.I." and introduced himself to the new squad bosses who would pass through the 67th Precinct stationhouse in the same way:

"Bond," Parker would tell each new boss who took the helm of the East Flatbush squad room where he was a detective for 17 years. He would then extend a meaty hand, twisted and gnarled from years of wrestling.

"James Bond."

But Parker did not just bring investigative knowledge and dedication to work with him. The garrulous detective also brought laughs.

He could do perfect impressions of his fellow cops, but bosses were his favorite targets, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said yesterday.

"When he wasn't teaching, he was entertaining," Kelly said. "His heart was as big as he was."

Parker's booming laughter was contagious, and the thought of his jokes no longer resonating through the squad room brought many to tears yesterday.

Police Officer Dana Livingston halted her rendition of "The Wind Beneath My Wings," sucked in a deep breath to hold back tears, started to sing again, and then just cried.

Parker's best friend for 24 years, Police Officer David Harvin, stopped to collect himself several times before simply saying: "I loved you, I love you and I will always keep loving you."