June 17, 2016, 2:06 PM
BY THOMAS TRACY, GRAHAM RAYMAN
|Randolph Holder Sr. (r.) and Princess Holder (c.), parents of fallen NYPD Officer Randolph Holder, were honored by Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch (l.) at Manhattan's Water Club Wednesday. (ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)|
The father of a police officer shot and killed in East Harlem said it was "bittersweet" to accept an award on behalf of his son.
Randolph Holder Sr. was presented with a Finest of the Finest Award for his son, also named Randolph Holder, by Holder's union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association Thursday. Two days earlier, he was given the NYPD's Medal of Honor in a ceremony at police headquarters.
"I have mixed emotions, it's bittersweet," Holder Sr. said. "We're glad to be here. We are proud to be honored again. Everything is not good but we can handle it. (The awards) fill my heart with great joy in the midst of sadness."
Holder was shot to death Oct. 20 after responding to a call of shots fired near E. 102nd St. and 1st Ave. in East Harlem.
|Lynch (front c.) poses for photos with Finest of the Finest honorees Wednesday. (ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Officer Patrick Espeut and Daria Cruz got awards in the wake of being shot and wounded during an encounter with an armed suspect at the Melrose Houses in the Bronx on Feb. 4.
The shooter, Malik Chavis, killed himself with a shotgun as cops sought him.
Cruz, who was shot in the thigh, said she is on desk duty while she continues to heal.
Espeut, who was grazed on his face, said, “It’s a shame what we had to go through to experience it but it’s great to be here. I’m blessed to be alive.”
Sgt. Spencer Garrett, 32, and Officer John McDevitt, 30, were honored for their role in the takedown of heavily armed drug dealers plaguing the Vladeck Houses on the Lower East Side.
|Holder’s father said he had “mixed emotions” about the award. (ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)|
McDevitt said the gang was so ingrained in the area that they couldn't even park their unmarked vehicles on the street without being made.
After months of surveillance they swept in on Thomas “Tom Tom” Grant and Victor Aponte and caught them with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and 26 guns, some of which were hidden in socks inside suitcases.
They seized an AK-47 assault rifle and an Uzi submachine gun among other guns, many of which were purchased in the South.
“A lot of hard word went into that case and it took a very long time,” Garrett said. “So it’s nice to be recognized.”