BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Friends, family members and fellow police officers came together for a final farewell Monday and to remember NYPD Officer Peter Figoski as a father, friend and hero.
On a crisp and clear winter day, there was a cloud of grief hanging over Babylon on Monday as some 15,000 mourners came to honor the slain officer, who was shot and killed last Monday during a botched robbery in Cypress Hills.
Streets were blocked off, schools — including those attended by Figoski’s daughters — were closed and the entire town seemed to come to a standstill for Figoski’s funeral.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also posthumously promoted Officer Figoski to detective, first-class, retroactive one year.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
In an overwhelming show of respect, thousands of uniformed officers from the NYPD, Nassau and Suffolk departments, state police from New York and New Jersey, and officers from upstate New York communities stood at attention and saluted their slain comrade as the casket carrying his body was led by a processional of bag pipes and drums playing “Amazing Grace.”
The slain officer’s four daughters stood should-to-shoulder with Figoski’s colleagues as the hearse arrived at St. Joseph’s Church in Babylon and his body was carried inside.
“Christine, Caitlyn, Caroline, Corrine, as the father of daughters, I understand the bonds you share with your dad,” Mayor Bloomberg said during the service. “How much you must miss him. Your father died a hero.”
“Knowing your father was a hero, however, doesn’t make it any easier these days,” Bloomberg said. “Knowing your dad was revered in the NYPD doesn’t make his passing less painful.”
“Every day when you step out in the street, you always pray that you’re going to make it home. You hug your children, your family, your loved ones. You kiss them and you always say a prayer that God is always going to be with you regardless of what the day brings,” Brooklyn Detective Raymond Gordon said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Peter Figoski’s Funeral
The loss of a neighbor and friend has also hit the close-knit residents of Babylon hard. Locals told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan that Figoski’s death has hit like a ton of bricks.
“Just seeing everyone so torn apart is comforting and very sad. You have so much support from one community because we’re all woven together so tightly because we’ve all grown up together,” Babylon resident Mackenzie Owens said.
While Figoski’s 22-year career was spent in Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, his commitment has been felt throughout the Tri-State area.
“He had a grin, that quiet confidence about him that makes you feel like to was going to be all right … no matter how bad it was,” said fellow officer Ricky Giordano.
WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs At The Funeral
Giordano is one of hundreds of people who attended Figoski’s wake over the weekend.
“He had passion for his job. Go to work, take care of his family. Like I said, a role model,” retired NYPD officer Angelo Baez said.
The 47-year-old is now being remembered for his constant generosity, calm confidence and kind heart.
“He just helped everybody. He was just sweet, raised his family like that. He will be missed,” said family friend Liz Mihalik.
The family has received an outpouring of support from the community. More than $600,000 has been donated to the Peter Figoski scholarship fund. The money will help pay for the education of Figoski’s daughters Christine, Caitlyn, Caroline and Corrine.
LINK: Find Out How To Help
Figoski’s accused killer Lamont Pride and four alleged accomplices were formally charged with murder Friday.
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