Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke Saturday morning at the funeral for Officer Rafael Ramos, who was shot to death a week ago along with his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, in a daylight ambush.
Hundreds of officers, family members and friends were inside Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, New York, while thousands of officers watched the service outside on giant screens.
According to reports, Biden told Ramos’s family: “I speak for whole nation that our hearts ache for you. I do hope you take some solace in the fact that there is 25,000 of the same fraternity who will stand with you and stand with you for the rest of your lives.”
“All of this city is grieving and grieving for so many reasons,” said Mayor de Blasio. “But the most personal is that we lost such a good man.”
On Friday, thousands of uniformed police officers from New York City and around the country attended the eight-hour wake. Colleagues described him as a selfless, compassionate man.
(The funeral for Ramos’s partner, Officer Liu, hasn’t yet been announced.)
For Ramos’s wake and funeral, JetBlue Airways 730 flew officers from law enforcement agencies across the country to New York City.
Spokesman Morgan Johnston said the New York-based airline committed to finding space for two officers per agency that wanted to send representatives. Officers from departments big and small departed airports in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Emerging details on gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who ambushed Ramos and Liu, are clarifying a portrait of him as a mentally disturbed loner.
His mother told New York’s Daily News that he’d had psychological problems all his life but his family never had any indication he would attack police. Shakuwra Dabre said her 28-year-old son had made suicide attempts starting when he was 13, had been institutionalized and had been on and off antidepressants for years.
She says he rebuffed his family’s pleas to get help and she last spoke to him in July. She told the newspaper she was “deeply sorry” for what he had done.
• Additional reporting by STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN