Hundreds Attend Wake Held For Slain NYPD Officer
Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET
Hundreds of police officers gathered in New York Friday for the wake of officer Rafael Ramos, one of two patrolmen who were killed last weekend. The gunman's motive may have included revenge for the deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of authorities.
"The flag-draped casket carrying slain New York City officer Rafael Ramos arrived for his wake at a Queens church Friday amid a sea of blue, as fellow officers in crisp uniforms lined the streets outside and served as pallbearers.
"Eight officers carried the casket inside as other cops saluted and stood at attention outside the entrance to Christ Tabernacle Church."
Forty-year-old Ramos was an usher at the church on Sundays, The New York Times reports. Rev. Ralph Castillo, one of the church's pastors, told the Times that Ramos, known as Ralph, "had an infectious smile."
"When I think of Ralph I think of his smile and his consistency," Castillo said. "He didn't have to be there. This is something he chose to do. He was faithful and consistent."
Among those who attended the wake were New Orleans Police Department Capt. Michael Glasser and three other New Orleans officers, who drove more than 20 hours to be at the wake, WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez reports.
"He said while police officers risk getting hurt every day, this killing was different," Rodriguez tells our Newscast Desk. "He called it an execution and said it was an assault on the profession."
Officers Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot and killed Saturday by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who left online threats and postings suggesting the assault was in response to the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Garner was killed in New York's Staten Island in July after a police chokehold; Brown was shot and killed in August in Ferguson, Mo. Both Garner and Brown were unarmed.
"Today we weep with the Ramos family, the New York City Police Department and our nation as we mourn the loss of our dear brother," Pastor Ralph Castillo said before the start of the wake, according to The Associated Press. "We loved Rafael Ramos. We loved the way he served people, we loved his faithfulness and the way he served people, and we're going to miss him a great deal."
The funeral for Ramos will be Saturday (Vice President Biden is expected to attend). Funeral plans for Ramos' partner, Liu, have not been announced yet.
Since Saturday's killings, the NYPD says it has arrested six people accused of threatening police. As NPR's Doreen McCallister wrote on Thursday, authorities in New York were closely monitoring such threats and stepping up security at some precincts in response.
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