Thousands Mourn At Funeral For NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thousands of uniformed police officers from across the country attended the funeral Sunday of the second NYPD officer shot to death with his partner in their patrol car two weeks ago.

Buddhist monks led a Chinese ceremony for Officer Wenjian Liu, followed by a traditional police ceremony with eulogies led by a chaplain.

PHOTOS: Funeral For NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu

Liu, 32, had served as a policeman for seven years and was married just two months when he was killed with his partner, Officer Rafael Ramos, on Dec. 20. Ramos’ funeral was held a week ago.

“A caring son, loving husband and a loyal friend,” Liu’s wife, Pei Xia Chen said. “You are an amazing man.”

Chen spoke eloquently of Liu’s love for the job and his devotion to his family, CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported.

“Although he worked often, he would always make sure to take time for me — his number one fan — his family and his friends,” she said. Wenjian is my hero. We can always count on him.”

Chen weeped and wore white in her hair as a sign of her mourning as an officer presented her with the American flag.

While her husband’s colleagues saluted, she choked back tears.

Wenjian Liu Funeral

Pei Xia Chen, widow of NYPD officer Wenjian Liu, cries while holding a picture of her husband during his funeral in Brooklyn on Jan. 4, 2015. (credit: Jewel Samad/Getty Images)

Liu’s father spoke in Chinese, saying “Today is the saddest day of my life. My only son left me.”

He went on to talk about how his son would often meet him where he worked at the garment factory to walk him home, Schneider reported.

And after every shift, Liu would call his father to say, “‘Dad, I’m coming home today. You can stop worrying now.'”

Mayor Bill de Blasio also eulogized Liu at the funeral.

“All of this city is feeling the pain right now and all of this city wants to lift up the Liu family and the Ramos family, and remember their sacrifice,” the mayor said.

De Blasio told tales of the 32-year-old, especially his love for fishing.

Liu’s friend fondly recalled his knack for catching fish that was inevitably too much for his family alone to eat.

“He would always go to Long Island for fishing, bring back a lot of seafood the family couldn’t finish, so he’d send to us, to my family,” said Eddie Lee.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton addressed the fallen officer’s NYPD colleagues.

“To Detective Liu and Detective Ramos’ brothers and sisters in blue, the thousands of you who are lined up in those rainy streets outside: I am so proud of you,” he said. “A much larger part of this city, or this country…is proud of you too.”

The funeral in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, follows a somber wake the day before as mourners lined up for blocks on a cold, rainy day to pay their respects.

“This is a really tragic story,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters following the wake, held just two days after the death of his own father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

“This was totally pointless. It had nothing to do with anything they did,” he said of Liu and Ramos. “They did nothing wrong. … It was pure and random hatred.”

The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, killed himself shortly after the brazen daytime ambush on a street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Investigators say Brinsley was an emotionally disturbed loner who had made references online to the killings this summer of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers, vowing to put “wings on pigs.”

The deaths strained an already tense relationship between city police unions and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who union leaders have said contributed to an environment that allowed the killings by supporting protests following the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The head of the rank-and-file police union, which is negotiating a contract with the city, turned his back on the mayor at a hospital the day of the killings. The act was imitated by hundreds of officers standing outside Ramos’ funeral who turned their backs toward a giant TV screen as de Blasio’s remarks were being broadcast and again on Sunday at Liu’s services outside of the funeral home.

Many people, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, have since called for calm, urging all parties to tone down the rhetoric. And this weekend police Commissioner Bill Bratton sent a memo to all commands urging respect, declaring “a hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance.”

On Saturday, officers standing outside Ralph Aievoli & Son funeral home where Liu was displayed dressed in full uniform in an open casket saluted as the mayor and commissioner entered.

Liu’s funeral arrangements were delayed so relatives from China could travel to New York. Burial will follow at Cypress Hills Cemetery.

Uniformed officers from across the country said they traveled to remember Liu because of their own tradition — solidarity among those who wear the uniform.

“When it happens here, it happens to us,” Los Angeles Police Department Officer Hannu Tarjamo said of the killings Saturday after the wake. “It doesn’t matter if it happens here, or in L.A., or in Louisiana. It’s an act of savagery that should be condemned by society.”

On Saturday, a small vigil was established in Chinatown and community members gathered, burning pieces of paper in honor of Liu in keeping with Chinese tradition.

Liu was buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery, the same cemetery where Ramos was buried.

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