Wall Street Journal
Updated Oct. 21, 2015 9:50 p.m.


Slain NYPD Officer Remembered as Devoted Son

Officer Randolph Holder, a five-year veteran of the NYPD, supported family in Guyana

By HENRICK KAROLISZYN and MELANIE GRAYCE WEST

The New York Police Department officer who was shot in the head and died Tuesday night was known by family and neighbors as a devoted son and dedicated police officer, eager to move up in the ranks and buy his first home.

Officer Randolph Holder, a five-year veteran of the NYPD, was investigating a shooting in East Harlem when a gunman on a bicycle shot him in the head, police said. The 33-year-old officer died at Harlem Hospital, making him the fourth NYPD officer killed in the line of duty in 10 months.

A stream of police officers, public officials, firefighters; friends and relatives visited Officer Holder’s family home on Wednesday in the Queens neighborhood of Far Rockaway.

Officer Holder was unmarried but had a longtime girlfriend. He had a teenage daughter who lives in his homeland of Guyana, according to family members.

Randolph Holder Sr., the slain officer’s father, told reporters outside the family home that his son, who immigrated to the U.S. 11 years ago, had always wanted to be a policeman, following in his footsteps and that of a grandfather, both police officers in their native Guyana.

Mr. Holder described his son as a prompt, easygoing man who loved to read and socialize. He said his son “delivered his duties diligently with pride, lots of principle and discipline.”

Mr. Holder wanted his son to be remembered as “a good foreigner, a loving citizen, very proud to be a member of the police force.” He said his son was going to close on a house in Valley Stream, N.Y., next month. “But all of that dream’s gone down the drain,” he said.

Mr. Holder said he last spoke with his son on Tuesday, when they talked about music and musical equipment. “If I had known it was the last time, I would have told him not to go out for duty,” he said.

Family friend Malika Clarke-Yarde, 33, said she had known Officer Holder for 15 years. He helped her to care for her teenage son.

“He always put work first,” she said. “That was his dream.

“He was such a proud young man, he made me who I am today,” said Ms. Clarke-Yarde.

Ruth Lawrence, 54, a relative, remembered Officer Holder as a “respectful kid,” she said, and always smiling.

“He loved being a cop,” Ms. Lawrence said. “He just took the test to be detective. He wanted to move up in the force. He was very proud of being a police officer.”

After the death of his mother, Officer Holder used his paycheck to help his grandmother and brother in Guyana, said Ms. Lawrence

“He was always helping his family, he was sending money to them,” she said. “I don’t know what they’ll (his family) do now.”

Tuesday night at Harlem Hospital, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Officer Holder’s father comforted his son’s co-workers from Police Service Area 5, a public housing district where he worked for the duration of his career.

On Wednesday morning, family members visited the housing bureau precinct to meet with Officer Holder’s co-workers, officials said.

Officer Holder made 125 arrests in his career and received five Excellent Police Duty awards and one Meritorious Police Duty award.

Outside the precinct were bouquets of flowers, candles and a sign with the hashtag #bluelivesmatter. Several clergy members, including the Rev. Vernon Williams of Harlem, spoke near the site of the shooting. He said he was upset more residents weren’t angered by the shooting.

“Something has to be done,” said Mr. Williams. “Someone has to be held accountable.”

Neighbor Beulah Jackman, 67, a certified nurse assistant, said she would remember Officer Holder for his manners.

“He was very polite, always said kind words,” she said. “He was never in a rage. There was nothing bad you could say about him. It’s a shame this happened.”

Cousin Natalie Andrews, 32, said when Officer Holder was younger, he would often DJ summer block parties in Far Rockaway, playing reggae and Soca music for the neighborhood. “He was like an angel. He was so family-oriented. And when he wasn’t with family, he was out working,” she said. “I can’t say anything bad about him. No one can.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered all flags to be lowered to half-staff until Officer Holder’s internment.

Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Community Chuch of the Nazarene in Far Rockaway; the funeral will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the church.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch asked all New Yorkers “to remember our fallen brother, Randolph Holder, and to keep his family, friends and colleagues in your heart, thoughts and prayers.”

New York City Councilman Donovan Richards visited with the family to offer his condolences.

“This officer served the city. His record was proven and he was only on the force for five years. He had a true commitment to this city,” he said.

—Derek Kravitz and Mark Morales contributed to this article.

Write to Melanie Grayce West at melanie.west@wsj.com