New York Daily News

 December 28, 2014, 10:38 AM


 

 

Mourners from around the nation attend funeral for slain NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos

 

Among the tens of thousands of attendees included a Texas police chief, a Brooklyn reverend and a Houston woman whose father is a retired police officer.

BY ERIK BADIA, CAITLIN NOLAN, LARRY MCSHANE

James Keivom/New York Daily News
The casket of NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos is brought out of Christ Tabernacle Church during his funeral on Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014 in Queens, New York.
James Keivom/New York Daily News
The hearse containing the casket of Officer Rafael Ramos leaves Christ Tabernacle Church following his funeral Dec. 27, 2014.
Shawn Inglima/ for the New York Daily News
San Jose police officers lay their patch at the memorial for Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu at Myrtle and Tompkins Ave where the two officers were assassinated on December 20, Saturday, December 27, 2014.

A Texas police chief traveled light to reach Officer Rafael Ramos’ funeral: He brought only a Bible signed by his entire department.

“We’ve come to deliver it to the Ramos family,” said Chief Gerald Arismendez of the Mathis Police Department. “He was a man of faith, and I too am.”

The chief and one of his officers flew 1,900 miles to New York first thing Saturday morning, and were due back on a plane home less than five hours later.

JOE MARINO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (l.) and ALEX RUD (r.)

Left: A man who identified himself as a friend of Ramos crouches down at his burial plot.
Right: Rev. Terry Lee of Brooklyn leads a prayer circle where two NYPD officers were executed.

One week to the minute of the Brooklyn murders, the Rev. Terry Lee was standing at the murder scene in the middle of a prayer circle.

Ten NYPD colleagues of the slain officers and twice that number of visiting police in town for the Ramos funeral joined hands at 2:47 p.m. on the corner where the two men were executed.

“When I see all these officers coming together and their teardrops falling and they’re laying down their roses and their hats, you can feel their pain,” said Lee, 49, of Flatbush, Brooklyn.

SHAWN INGLIMA FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Above and below: Reverend Terry Lee, 49, leads a circle in prayer with other police officers from all over the country for Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu at Myrtle and Tompkins Ave where the two officers were assassinated on December 20, Saturday, December 27, 2014.
SHAWN INGLIMA FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

“Even just a little prayer like this does help to heal. We must pray for them, because it’s a tough challenge. It’s a tough job for all these officers.”

The site became home to an impromptu memorial over the last week, with flowers and candles left beneath a tent by hundreds upon hundreds of visitors.

The Saturday drop-ins included 25 officers from Long Branch, N.J., who recalled the 1997 murder of their own Sgt. Patrick King.

“This memorial here, all the officers that have come to pay their respects, it’s amazing,” said Lt. Frank Rizzuto, who led the contingent.

A Houston woman whose father is a retired police officer paid the air fare for four of that city’s cops to attend the funeral.

“It’s an honor to be here and pay our respects for these fallen officers,” said Sgt. James Armstrong, who flew into New York on Friday.

The 32-year police veteran spoke for many of the officers at the funeral when he addressed last week’s stunning assassination.

“Police officers always understand that when they put their uniform on there’s always a chance that you’re going to get hurt or ambushed,” Armstrong said.

“But it’s truly tragic when you have two officers sitting there in a car and they get ambushed.”

Armstrong, who came with three of his Houston colleagues, was impressed by Vice President Biden and the police turnout.

“It was awe-inspiring,” he said.