NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill will attend the funeral for NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos, the White House said Tuesday.
Ramos and officer Wenjian Liu were ambushed and killed on Saturday in Brooklyn.
Biden is attending the funeral service at President Obama’s request, the White House said.
A wake for Ramos is scheduled for Friday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Christ Tabernacle church in Glendale. The funeral is at 10 a.m. Saturday at the same location.
Mayor Bill de Blasio observed a moment of silence for the fallen officers at City Hall at 2:47 p.m. — the time Liu and Ramos were killed.
“It’s a time of pain for our city,” de Blasio said. “It’s a time of mourning for two good families and it’s so important that we all stand in solidarity with them.”
Later Tuesday night at Rockefeller Center, tourists stared as the Christmas tree briedly went dark, symbolizing the sadness that has settled in many hearts following the deaths, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
The tribute at the tree, as well as the dimming of lights at One World Trade Center were arranged by de Blasio.
“Officer Ramos and Officer Liu believed in something. They believed in making this world better. They believed in making this city better,” de Blasio said. “They gave their lives for the belief that we could do better, that we could come together, that we could keep people safe.
“There’s a lot of pain right now. We have to work our way through that pain. We have to keep working to bring police and community closer together,” de Blasio added. “We have to work for that more perfect union. We have to put the divisions of the past behind us. They were left to all of us in this generation, we have to overcome them. We need to protect and respect our police just as our police protect and respect our communities. We can strike that balance. We must.”
De Blasio called on New Yorkers to focus on the Ramos and Liu families and the “extended family of the NYPD.”
“Because every police officer is hurting right now, and the family of every police officer is hurting right now,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio again called for New Yorkers to come together.
“It feels tremendously painful right now, but it’s always darkest before the dawn,” he said. “These families want a city filled with peace and unity. It’s our job, all of us, to create that.”
Earlier in the day, de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray visited the site of an ever-growing makeshift memorial for the officers. They stood silent with their heads bowed for several minutes before placing a bouquet of flowers at the site.
On Tuesday night, at 9 p.m. buildings and landmarks on New York City’s skyline, including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler building, One World Trade Center, and others were to dim their lights in honor of officer’s Liu and Ramos.
“Our city is in pain. We ask all New Yorkers to turn their thoughts to our shared identity as New Yorkers and to honoring the memories of the two fine men we lost. Tonight, some of the greatest emblems of our city will dim their lights to honor our fallen police officers. Let us take these moments to reflect on our common values, and rededicate ourselves to moving this city forward together. We thank our fellow New Yorkers at each of these buildings and landmarks for joining us in this expression of remembrance,” de Blasio said.
Ramos, 40, joined the NYPD in 2012 after working as a school security officer and lived in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. He was married with two sons and was soon to be a volunteer chaplain.
“He was due to graduate with the class, about 144 of his peers, this past Saturday the 20th — the day he was killed,” New York State Chaplain Task Force President Reverend Marcos Miranda told 1010 WINS.
Some of Ramos’ brothers in blue comforted the fallen officer’s cousins, who came to see the tribute for themselves, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“It’s touching. I’m glad that we’re coming together through this, but I’m also sad that it took the death of two police officers for the city to unite like this,” Ronnie Gonzales said.
Liu, 32, was a seven-year police veteran and served in the police auxiliary. He married his wife two months ago.
Liu was assigned to work security on the Brooklyn Bridge the day of the shooting, but when one of his colleagues was running late, he volunteered to work with Ramos, who was assigned to a patrol with the 84th Precinct, sources told CBS2.
“It shouldn’t be tit for tat. It shouldn’t be an eye for an eye. We have to come together as a people. This is New York,” Bedford Stuyvesant resident Keesha Rivers said.
Monday night, Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen, offered her condolences to the Ramos family.
“This is a difficult time for both of our families, but we will stand together and get through this together,” she said.
Liu’s mother wiped both their eyes as the young widow spoke outside of their Gravesend home, thanking the public for their support.
“The Liu family would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the police department, our neighbors, the entire New York City community, friends and coworkers,” Chen said.
De Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton visited both families on Monday.
As the first emergency responders on scene, members of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps tried their best to revive the two officers, but even their desperate attempts could not save them.
“We ran to that ambulance and we got there and did everything we could,” Commander Rocky Robinson told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
“I kept asking Officer Ramos that, if he could hear me, to just blink his eyes or try to move or do anything to gesture that he can hear me and there was nothing at all,” said first responder Baron Johnson.
Brinsley began the day Saturday by shooting and wounding his ex-girlfriend at her home in Baltimore, police said.
In an Instagram post prior to the shooting in Brooklyn, Brinsley vowed to put “wings on pigs” and made references to Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
“This has nothing to do with police retaliation,” said Brinsley’s sister Jalaa’a Brinsley. “He was an emotionally troubled kid. He needed help and didn’t get it.”
His sister said Brinsley had been estranged from his family.
“When he turned to a life of crime, I had to separate myself from him,” she said.
Investigators believe Brinsley acted alone, releasing new surveillance video Monday of him at the Atlantic mall in Brooklyn hours before the ambush. In it, you see him carrying a plastic bag that police believe he used to conceal a 9mm handgun.
But Brinsley’s whereabouts two and a half hours before the shooting remain unclear. Detectives are now asking for the public’s help to complete the timeline.
Tuesday morning, civilian leaders from area community precinct councils gathered at the 84th precinct station house urging the mayor and police commissioner to utilize the seven decades-old organization as a bridge between community and police.
“We hear the mayor and borough president say this is one Brooklyn, one New York,” said 73rd Precinct Community Council President Anthony Newerls. “Then we should have one conversation on how to bring all of this together.”
On “CBS This Morning,” Bratton talked about the challenges his officers now face in what has become a tense relationship between unions, protestors and City Hall.
“We are in a very difficult place at this time in that regard, in the sense of officers’ feelings about the demonstrations, about the anti-police move that seems to be sweeping the country as of late,” he said.
Investigators believe Brinsley acted alone, but Bratton has ordered all uniformed officers to work in pairs as a precaution.
“In an exercise of caution, that we did raise the security level,” he said. “We will evaluate that in the days ahead and begin to adjust accordingly.”
As the investigation expands, the colleagues of both officers struggle to cope with their deaths. Many Monday night returned to the scene, grieving for the lives of their brothers lost.
The Liu family is working on funeral arrangements as they wait for family members to arrive from China.
De Blasio said he would attend both funerals.
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