NEW YORK – A sea of police in blue uniforms filled a massive Bronx movie theater and the street outside to pay tribute Tuesday to a New York City officer who was shot and killed in her police vehicle.
As Officer Miosotis Familia's funeral began in the 4,000-seat Loews Paradise Theater, Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass said Familia had died a martyr's death.
"What her life lacked in duration, it made up in quality and intensity," he said, adding that the 12-year officer, former health care worker and mother of three "loved life in all of its variety and richness."
Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill were expected to speak. They and Gov. Andrew Cuomo had also paid their respects to Familia on Monday at a Bronx church, where she was remembered for her smiles and kindness.
Familia, 48, was in an RV-like command post stationed in a crime-ridden Bronx precinct early on July 5 when 34-year-old Alexander Bonds walked up to the vehicle and fired once through the passenger window, striking Familia in the head. Bonds ran from the scene, but police caught up to him and opened fire, killing him after he turned the gun on them. Bonds had sought psychiatric care just days earlier.
Familia's commanding officer, Inspector Philip Rivera, on Sunday called her "a true asset to this department, to this city, a beautiful person inside and out, a loving mother, loving to her co-workers, always had a smile and a few kind words for everybody."
Bronx resident Bill Simpson never met her but felt the need to mourn the loss.
"It hurt everybody. All of us feel it," he said.
After joining the NYPD in 2005, Familia worked her entire career in the Bronx precinct where she was killed.
She has a 20-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. She also was caring for her 86-year-old mother.
Familia is the first female officer to die in the line of duty since 9/11.
Associated Press writers Deepti Hajela and Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.