NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a massive show of support for the NYPD Wednesday, as officers from across the nation came to pay respects to slain Officer Randolph Holder — now promoted to detective.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the officers came by the thousands as they showed somber faces in their dress uniforms – coming from everywhere from East Hartford, Connecticut to Brea, California.
Holder, a five-year veteran, and his partner had been chasing a man after responding to a call of shots fired and a bicycle stolen at gunpoint on the night of Tuesday, Oct. 20. Authorities allege the suspect hopped off the stolen bicycle and shot Holder in the head at an East River footbridge in East Harlem.
At the funeral, police Commissioner Bill Bratton emphasized that Holder devoted his life to keeping people safe.
“What makes a police officer? Is it courage? Is it compassion? Is it the calling? I would say to you, it’s all of these. All things make a cop – but one thing most of all – we keep people safe. It’s what we do,” Bratton said. “It’s what Police Officer Randolph Holder did so proudly throughout his all too brief career. Keeping people safe is what brought Randy to the job.”
He went on to promote Holder to detective posthumously.
Holder’s funeral was the second NYPD funeral this year for Brea, California police Officer Kelly Carpenter.
“I came back in January for Officer (Wenjian) Liu,” Carpenter said. “(It’s) not something any of us want to do, but there’s nothing more important than to be here and support our brothers.”
There was an especially proud turnout from the New Jersey State Police – neighbors who deeply felt the loss of Detective Holder.
“Thirty-three years old — certainly had a lot left to offer the community and the City of New York, and my heart goes out to him, and his family and to the entire the New York City Police Department,” said New Jersey State police Lt. Col. Pat Callahan.
Of Holder’s family, Seminole County, Florida Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Christie Register said, “I can’t imagine what they are going through, but I do know they have a lot of people backing them and that are going to support them for many, many years to come.
Other officers from around the country likewise said Holder’s slaying was felt by everyone of their profession.
“When somebody passes away in the line of duty, a little bit of each one of us kind of passes with him,” said Juan Avila of the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff’s Office. “I’m here to show my support for the NYPD, it’s an honor to be here.”
“Words can’t describe,” said Stratford, Connecticut police Officer Victor Velez. “It’s painful. We’re heartfelt for the family, as well as the community that suffers for their loss.”
Also in the crowd were members of the East Harlem community, which was still shaken by the murder of a man working to keep the streets safe.
“I think it’s tragic how another officer has lost his life doing his job trying to defend people,” said Vivian Velez.
People from Holder’s native Guyana were also on hand, showing pride in their homeland and its heroic native son.
“Number one, I feel sad, and then I’m happy to know that he was a productive young man of his adopted country — and his death may not be in vain,” said Guyana native Loraine Stephen.
Holder is the fourth officer from the NYPD to be killed in the last 11 months.