NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Community leaders gathered in East Harlem Thursday night, in the exact spot where NYPD Officer Randolph Holder was killed in the line of duty.
As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the group marched as Randolph’s family prepared to bury him, after he was slain while trying to protect the city.
A growing memorial was also mounted in front of the precinct where Holder worked, and as the police investigation continued into his shooting death, community leaders were asking, where’s the outrage?
“Come walk with us. Take a stroll,” the Rev. Vernon Williams said to East Harlem residents.
Williams wanted more neighbors to join a seven-person march in Holder’s memory. As he and others prepared to walk up First Avenue, they wondered why the community was not more actively showing support after the NYPD’s loss.
“There should be more support for the NYPD and showing their condolences to the NYPD,” said Bishop Popeye C.G. Whittingham.
He said he was not seeing enough support.
“No I’m not, no I’m not — not from the leaders, not by the notables,” Whittingham said.
Police late Thursday were still searching the East River for the gun they said Tyrone Howard, 30, fired once at Officer Holder Tuesday night, hitting him in the forehead and killing him.
Holder’s father was a police officer in their native Guyana, and said his son bravely faced danger for the last five years in New York City.
Community Leaders: Where’s The Outrage In NYPD Officer’s Shooting Death?
Meanwhile, family members were preparing to say final goodbyes Thursday, before sending him to his homeland for burial.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, those who knew Holder said he made a lasting impression on their lives.
“My son – a devoted cop, he was one that was brave to face problems that he has endured,” said the officer’s father, Randolph Holder Sr. “He tried to take care of it, and lost his life.”
The pride that the elder Holder had for his police officer son was perhaps one of the only things that came close to the measure of pain he felt in losing him.
“My grief will always be here — never goes away,” Holder Sr. said.
It was especially painful for Officer Holder’s family to be face-to-face in court with Howard, the career criminal accused of fatally shooting Holder with a single bullet to the head.
Howard, 30, is accused of fatally shooting Holder Tuesday night after a chase in East Harlem. At his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court late Wednesday, Howard did not enter a plea after being charged with first-degree murder and robbery and was ordered held without bail.
One NYPD officer among the countless who packed the courtroom expressed his disgust as a judge ordered Howard held without bail.
“I hope you burn in hell!” the officer said.
Assistant District Attorney Linda Ford said the case against Howard would be presented to a grand jury on Friday and Monday. His attorney, Brian Kennedy, did not ask for bail and said he wasn’t sure yet if his client would testify before the grand jury.
At his arraignment, Howard wore a white jumpsuit and appeared to slouch down during the proceeding in front of a standing room only crowd of NYPD officers. One of the officers yelled out, “I hope you burn in hell.”
Kennedy, his attorney, said Howard had been suffering from chest pain.
“There’s a lot of details we don’t yet know in this tragic event,” Kennedy said. “We don’t know Mr. Howard’s involvement. We don’t know if there was a gun recovered. There’s a lot of missing details.”
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, voiced his members’ anger after the arraignment.
“This coward couldn’t even stand up. Yesterday evening, he was able to run. Yesterday evening, he was able to pull a gun. Yesterday evening, he was tough enough to pull that trigger and kill a police officer,” Lynch said.
Several of Holder’s family members also were in the courtroom, sobbing. Some shouted at Howard during the proceeding.
“Once you met him, you loved him,” Holder’s cousin, George Johnson, said. “He was respectful. There was nothing not to like about him. Everything about him was good.”
Sister Of Slain Police Officer Calls Out Al Sharpton For Not Being In Court During Suspect’s Arraignment
Meanwhile, Officer Holder’s family slammed the Rev. Al Sharpton and asked why he wasn’t at court during the suspected killer’s arraignment.
Sherry Holder, the sister of Office Randolph Holder who was shot in the head in East Harlem while pursuing suspect Tyrone Howard, loudly asked where Sharpton was in light of the murder of a black police officer.
Sharpton responded Thursday and issued the following statement: “The murder of NYPD Officer Randolph Holder is an outrage to all of us, which is why I tweeted prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. Holder at 5:00 a.m. the morning after the shooting and why my staff attended the prayer vigil for him last night conducted by the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council. I also made calls yesterday attempting to visit the family. I am glad Mr. Holder’s sister asked where I am today and maybe she will facilitate my visiting the family and be a part of our vigil this weekend to memorialize a celebrated police officer who was killed by a menace to society. By all accounts, Officer Holder was a good man and a good police officer and we mourn his loss.”
Holder and his partner had responded to a report of shots fired near a public housing development in East Harlem. When they arrived, a man said his bike had been stolen at gunpoint and the thief fled with a group of people along a footpath near the East River.
The officers caught up to a man with a bike on a pedestrian overpass that spans a highway and traded gunfire, police said.
“He puts the bike down, he pulls out his weapon and he fires one time, striking the officer in the front of the head,” Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry said.
After Holder was shot, the gunman ditched the bike and fled, police said. He was caught several blocks away with a gunshot wound to his leg, Bratton said.
Howard has an extensive arrest record and got out of jail and into a drug treatment program months before police said he killed Holder and while he was wanted in another shooting.
Bratton described Howard as a dangerous career criminal who never should have been on the streets, calling him a “poster boy for not being diverted” to a treatment-oriented drug court instead of to prison.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Howard was among the thousands of people responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence citywide. He echoed the police commissioner’s insistence that Howard should have been locked away, saying “someone like this shouldn’t have been on the streets.”
But the judge who referred Howard to the diversion program said he had no reason to believe Howard was violent.
“Why is this guy at least a candidate (for diversion)? Because nothing else has worked,” state Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin said.
Howard, who has four felony drug convictions and did stints in state prison, was arrested in October 2014 along with 18 other people and charged with selling crack cocaine to an undercover officer at a public housing complex.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s office recommended Howard serve seven years on that charge.
But McLaughlin was persuaded to refer the case to a team dedicated to screening candidates for drug treatment, a decision another judge approved, since Howard had no convictions for violent offenses and after reading a social worker’s report detailing Howard’s troubled home life and longtime addiction to PCP.
Howard, who has two children, was bailed out of jail in February, pleaded guilty to the drug charge and was making regular court appearances until late August, when he skipped a court date, court system spokesman David Bookstaver said.
Days later, Howard shot and wounded a gang member, police said. Investigators had made 10 unsuccessful attempts to arrest him at various addresses before Tuesday’s shooting.
Police said Howard has been arrested 28 times since age 13 and had a history of violence. They said he was arrested in connection with a 2009 shooting that injured an 11-year-old and a 78-year-old.
“It’s unfortunate that there are people in our city, in our society, that, despite our best efforts — they’re criminals,” Bratton said. “And this individual, I think, is one of those.”
But McLaughlin said that he never saw a record indicating a shooting arrest and that a conviction for such a violent offense would have barred Howard from qualifying for the diversion program. A spokesman for prosecutors didn’t respond to questions about that arrest.
A lawyer who represented Howard in the recent drug case, Robert Levy, said his client was trying to get into a residential treatment program before he skipped his court dates.
Holder, a five-year veteran, made 125 arrests in his career and was awarded six departmental citations for his work. The Guyana native, 33, was the son and grandson of police officers and worked in a division that polices public housing developments.
“The world needs to know that, that young man was irreplaceable and the sacrifice that he gave to the city was just a small example of the sacrifices that many members of the service give,” one neighbor said.
The Empire State Building was lit in blue last night in honor of Holder. The mayor said the tribute honors a brave man whose mission was to protect New York.
De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered flags to fly at half-staff at state and municipal buildings in honor of the fallen officer. They will remain that way until the day after his funeral.
Holder is the second NYPD officer killed in the line of duty this year and the fourth in the past 11 months.
But while line-of-duty police slayings are down from a high of 12 in 1971, the four officers killed in the past 11 months represent more than in any 12-month period in recent years, police records show.
Holder’s wake will be held next Tuesday. His funeral will be Wednesday in Queens. He’ll be buried in his native Guyana.
Fellow Officers, Neighbors Grieve With Holder’s Family
Meanwhile, Holder’s colleagues offered support by visiting and dropping off food for his family in Far Rockaway, Queens.
At Holder’s own home in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, neighbors left flowers, plants and notes expressing their grief and gratitude.
“As a friend of the family, I’m feeling their pain,” one visitor said.
“That’s it. It’s over,” another said. “He’ll never be here again.”
Next-door neighbor Karen Carbonaro often saw the 33-year-old officer with his girlfriend. She said Holder was friendly and generous, voluntarily moving her garbage pails and shoveling her driveway.
Learning of his murder was devastating.
“I felt like my heart like fell to the floor,” she said. “It’s better not to think about it just happening in general — to any police officer or any person. But then to learn it’s the guy next-door? It’s so real. It makes it so real.”
A makeshift memorial was also growing Thursday outside Public Service Area 5 in Harlem, where Holder served all five years of his career with the NYPD.
“It really hurt me to see them take a police officer who really wanted to help the community,” East Harlem resident Robert Collington told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
“He didn’t deserve to go and leave this Earth the way that he left this Earth,” said resident Sandra Tripp, who said Holder was a mentor to her son. “I knew him very well. My son, he was in a lot of drama and he helped pull him out of the drama.”
Fellow officers are also paying tribute, leaving candles and flowers. Some were left by the family of Officer Wenjian Liu, who was killed in the line of duty last year. Their note to Holder’s family said: “All our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Please stand strong.”
Down at One World Trade Center, members of the Port Authority Police and NYPD held a moment of silence for Holder on Thursday afternoon.
Late Thursday, police were still searching for the gun used to shoot Holder. Howard will be back in court on Tuesday.
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