Memorial Grows In Brooklyn As Tributes Pour In For 2 Murdered NYPD Cops


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An NYPD baseball cap surrounded by flowers, teddy bears and candles marks the spot where two police officers were killed by a gunman in Brooklyn who was targeting law enforcement.

Tributes have been pouring in from around the country for officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu as their families prepare for the funerals.

A viewing will be held for officer Ramos between 2 and 9 p.m. on Friday at the Christ Tabernacle Church located at 64-34 Myrtle Ave. in Queens, CBS2 reported. A funeral service will be held at the same church at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

PHOTOS: Memorials To Slain Officers | NYPD Cops Killed

“He was a family man, he was very serious with his job and with his family,” said Antonio Garrastegui, who was among those paying respects at the memorial Monday.

Garrastegui said officer Ramos, who was completing training to become a chaplain to help ease police-community relations, saved his life. Ramos befriended him after arresting him nearly two year ago and encouraged him to leave his life of crime.

“He didn’t deserve to die like that,” Garrastegui said. “Not like that.”

The officers had been sitting in their patrol car Saturday when police said 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley approached the squad car and fired four shots, killings the officers. He then ran into the subway station and committed suicide.

Earlier Saturday, Brinsley had vowed in an Instagram post: “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs.” He ended the post with references to Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Just before the shooting, Brinsley walked up to people on the street and asked them to follow him on Instagram, then told them, “Watch what I’m going to do,” police said.

On Monday, Garner’s 22-year-old daughter, Emerald, visited the memorial. She said her dad never would have wanted any violence carried out in his name, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.

She said she read a Facebook post by Ramos’ 13-year-old son Jaden that said Saturday was the worst day of his life.

“It hit my heart because I know what it feels like,” she said. “I know firsthand what you’re feeling.”

“It was heavy on my heart because it took me back to July, when what happened with my dad, but we just want to let everybody know that we stand together,” she added.

Meanwhile in the Bronx, NYPD officers from the 50th Precinct in the Bronx held a prayer vigil in a show of solidarity, CBS2 reported.

The event was organized by Rabbi Avi Weiss, of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale

On Long Island, flags were ordered at half-staff at all county buildings in Nassau and Suffolk, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone expressed an appreciation for the job cops do.

“And I am grateful and thankful that we have people like them who are willing to carry that burden and responsibility each and every day,” he said.

As for some of the angry comments expressed before and after the killings, Bellone soberly said now is not the time.

“This is a tragedy. You know they’ll be plenty of time to talk about it and think about what comes in the days after,” he said.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the memorial at the scene of the shooting is a “reflection that the community cares about the cops.” He laid a wreath and flowers for the slain officers Sunday.

On Monday, Bratton visited both officers’ families along with Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited both families Sunday, saying he wished he could do more to comfort them, especially his son Jaden, who was extremely close to his father.

“His son said to me, ‘Why? Why my dad? What did my dad do wrong?'” Cuomo said. “His father did nothing wrong. He was a beautiful public servant.”

“He loved his job, he loved his wife. He was a dedicated father and I wish I could be half the man my cousin was,” Ramos’ cousin Ronnie Gonzales said Sunday.

The deaths of Ramos and Liu remain on the minds of many across New York City.

Most do not assign blame beyond the killer, but some do. The murders, they say, are an outgrowth of the anti-police violence movement, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.

“People are just taking this out of hand,” said Anthony Seda. “This is all, a matter of fact, somebody thinking the right decision wasn’t made.”

Others, however, disagreed.

“The people who demonstrated here didn’t kill those two policemen,” said Mark Geier. “That was that lunatic from Baltimore.”

In the heart of Harlem near a table of shirts that read “Black Lives Matter,” there was less talk about “them,” and more about “all of us.”

“I felt the same way I felt when Eric Garner, and Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin were killed; it’s a tragedy because of the lives that were lost,” said Hadassah Ingrid.

“When you attack the people who work for the government, who are supposed to be protecting us, you are in a way attacking everybody within the city,” said Al Williams.

It was on everyone’s mind on Monday, from Inwood in Upper Manhattan to suburban White Plains to Forest Hills in Queens, Young reported.

“It really hurts; it’s really scary. When they can kill cops like that, it’s really scary,” said Kathleen Finnerty.

One police commander called the deaths a sobering moment, a time to take car and reflect, Young reported.

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