NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Tests show a gun found in the East River is the weapon used to shoot NYPD Officer Randolph Holder last week, police said Monday.
A .40-caliber Glock was recovered around 3 a.m. Sunday about 20 feet below the river’s surface at 123rd Street, Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry said.
Ballistics tests matched that gun with the one used to shoot Holder in the head, 1010 WINS reported. It was also tested for fingerprints and DNA, police said.
“That firearm is consistent with the firearm that we were looking for,” Aubry said after the gun was recovered Sunday.
Shell cases from the test firing were being compared with discharged cases police recovered on 120th Street next to Holder’s body in addition to the cases at 102nd Street where the first shots were fired, Aubry said.
He said the searches for evidence were a “24/7 operation” since the night of the shooting and said the scuba team’s work was “very difficult.” Police said NYPD divers searched the roughly 67,000 square-feet of the Harlem River, in rough waters with little or no visibility, using their hands until they recovered the weapon, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported.
“It could get up to five or six knots over there, which is way faster than Michael Phelps could swim,” Scuba Unit Detective Brian Singer said.
Detective John Mortimer located the gun, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
“There was the black firearm that the detectives asked us to find,” Mortimer said. “So it was a relief as soon as I brought it up. Everybody just felt elated.”
Tyrone Howard, 30, has been charged with murder and robbery in Holder’s death.
Police said Holder and his partner had responded to a report of shots fired near a public housing development in East Harlem on Tuesday night. When they arrived, a man said his bike had been stolen at gunpoint and the thief fled, police said.
The officers caught up to Howard with a bike on a pedestrian overpass that spans FDR Drive and traded gunfire, police said. After Holder was shot, Howard ditched the bike and took off, police said. He was caught several blocks away with a gunshot wound to his leg, police said.
Howard’s lawyer has said there are many missing details in the case.
Meanwhile, Holder’s fiancee, Mary Muhammad, said she finds herself waiting for Holder, her high school sweetheart and best friend, to come home.
“I just wish that I had more time, but I’m thankful for the time that I did have with him,” she told CBS2. “It was the worst feeling ever.”
The couple, both from Guyana, were scheduled to close on a home next week and were planning to get married. They were raising Muhammad’s 12-year-old daughter together and wanted to have more children of their own.
The day Holder was killed, Muhammad said goodbye to him as she always did.
“He said, ‘I love you, I’ll see you later’ and he never came back,” she said. “He’s never going to come back.
“We were told he was in surgery (after the shooting), and then a few minutes after, we were told by the commissioner that he didn’t make it. It was the worst feeling ever.”
Muhammad said Holder had just interviewed for a position with the NYPD Warrant Squad and wanted to someday become a sergeant.
Muhammad said she doesn’t want to focus on how Holder died or the suspect accused of killing him. Instead, she’s trying to honor his memory and is planning to start a nonprofit foundation and mentorship program in his name.
“It’s the natural reaction for you to be angry, but I just want some good to come out of this, and I just want to honor him, and I just want his legacy to live on,” she said.
Community leaders and police will stand outside precinct station houses at 7 p.m. Monday for a total of 37 minutes — 33 minutes for each year of Holder’s life and an additional four minutes for the four NYPD officers killed in the line of duty during the past year.
“You don’t stand alone,” said Clark Pena, a community leader in East Harlem. “Law enforcement is not the enemy. We have to work together because we have to live together.”
Holder’s wake is scheduled for Tuesday at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, Queens. His funeral will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday. His body will then be flown to his native Guyana for burial.
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