NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 22-year-old cop who was executed by a crack gang some 30 years ago was given a memorial mass inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday.

“It seemed like society was just unraveling. Criminals were assertively assassinating police officers for no reason, but to send a message to society that they’re taking over,” Judge Kirk Bartley said.

Bartley was the prosecutor who tried Officer Eddie Byrne’s killers.

He came to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to honor the rookie cop’s memory.

Byrne was assassinated as he guarded a witness in Queens, in the crack wars that plagued New York City. Byrne’s brother Larry said his death sparked outrage and action.

“And the effort began to take New York City back from the drug dealers and from the crack gangs,” Larry said.

He said it’s not a day of sadness and sorrow, but of rememberance of Eddie’s story and the difference his life and death have made.

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