World

Funeral held for slain NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos, his death 'touched the soul of an entire nation'

  • Firefighters arrive for the funeral of New York City police officer Rafael Ramos in the Glendale section of Queens, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, in New York. Ramos and his partner, officer Wenjian Liu, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Firefighters arrive for the funeral of New York City police officer Rafael Ramos in the Glendale section of Queens, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, in New York. Ramos and his partner, officer Wenjian Liu, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • New York Police Department officers wait in line to enter the wake of officer Rafael Ramos at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale section of Queens, Friday, Dec. 26, 2014, in New York. Ramos was killed Dec. 20 along with his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    New York Police Department officers wait in line to enter the wake of officer Rafael Ramos at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale section of Queens, Friday, Dec. 26, 2014, in New York. Ramos was killed Dec. 20 along with his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • The casket of New York Police Department officer Rafael Ramos arrives to his wake at Christ Tabernacle Church in the Glendale section of Queens, where he was a member, Friday, Dec. 26, 2014, in New York. Ramos was killed Dec. 20 along with his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    The casket of New York Police Department officer Rafael Ramos arrives to his wake at Christ Tabernacle Church in the Glendale section of Queens, where he was a member, Friday, Dec. 26, 2014, in New York. Ramos was killed Dec. 20 along with his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

When the eldest son of Officer Rafael Ramos arrived to his father’s funeral on Saturday in New York, he was hugged by a police officer. He was wearing his father’s New York Police Department jacket.

Thousands of people gathered to honor Ramos, who was killed along with his partner in an ambush shooting a week ago.

Vice President Joe Biden, who addressed police officers, family and friends inside the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, said Ramos and his partner Officer Wenjian Liu’s deaths “touched the soul of an entire nation.”

“When an assassin’s bullet targeted two officers, it targeted this city and it touched the soul of an entire nation,” he said, adding that the NYPD was the finest in the world.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the Dec. 20 daylight shootings of the officers as they sat in their cruiser on a Brooklyn street was "an attack on all of us."

The attack shook the city and put an end to large-scale local protests criticizing police over a series of high-profile, in-custody deaths.

Ramos was described Friday during an eight-hour wake as a selfless, caring and compassionate man.

"What happened to my father was a tragedy," Ramos' son, Justin, said in a tearful eulogy viewed by hundreds of officers in the street who watched on giant television screens outside the crowded church. "But his death will not be in vain."

Ramos, a 40-year-old married father of two, was studying to become a pastor and kept Bible study books in his locker, his commanding officer said.

Ralph Castillo, pastor of the Christ Tabernacle Church described Ramos as a "family man that loved his wife and his sons."

"You couldn’t have a conversation without them coming up,” he told Fox News Latino last week. “He loved volunteering at the church. His smile was infectious and … he would make you feel at home. We are really going to miss him.”

Officer Dustin Lindaman of the Waterloo Police Department flew from Iowa to attend Ramos' funeral.

"He's one of our brothers, and when this happens, it affects everyone in law enforcement — it absolutely affects everyone," he said. "We wanted to show our support."

After the death of the officers on a street in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section, the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley killed himself. Police said he was troubled and had shot and wounded an ex-girlfriend in Baltimore earlier that day.

In online posts shortly before the attack, Brinsley referenced the killings of two unarmed black men — Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner on Staten Island — by white police officers.

Police union officials have said de Blasio contributed to a climate of mistrust toward police amid protests over the deaths of Brown and Garner. At a hospital after the shooting, the police union's president, Patrick Lynch, and others turned their backs on the mayor in a sign of disrespect. Lynch blamed the mayor then for the officers' deaths and said he had blood on his hands.

Weeks before the shooting, Lynch suggested that officers sign a petition requesting that the mayor not attend their funerals were they to die in the line of duty.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and others have since tried to temper the rhetoric.

De Blasio has stood firmly by the police since the shooting, calling on the demonstrators to temporarily halt their protests and praising officers after the police department announced the arrest of a seventh person since the shooting for making threats against police.

There was no noticeable reaction from police outside the church when de Blasio arrived Saturday about a half hour before services.

Hundreds of officers standing outside the church turned their backs on the mayor as he spoke during the service.

A block from the church, though, retired NYPD Officer John Mangan held a sign that read: "God Bless the NYPD. Dump de Blasio."

"If the mayor really wanted to do the right thing, he would have gotten into an NYPD car and rode around Bed Stuy and see the difficult jobs these cops do every day," Mangan said. "The bottom line is there should be more signs out here in support of these cops."

Ramos and Liu were the first officers to die in the line of duty in New York since 2011. Funeral plans for Liu have yet to be announced.

"Law enforcement isn't just your own department; it runs deep," said Lt. Chris Thibault of the Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, Police Department.

They have both been posthumously promoted to first-grade detective, police said.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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