Funeral of slain New York City officer draws thousands

New York Police officers stand in a steady rain while waiting for the conclusion of a funeral service for Officer Randolph Holder, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in New York. Holder was killed on Oct. 20 while responding to a report of shots fired and a bicycle stolen at gunpoint in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
New York Police officers stand in a steady rain while waiting for the conclusion of a funeral service for Officer Randolph Holder, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in New York. Holder was killed on Oct. 20 while responding to a report of shots fired and a bicycle stolen at gunpoint in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

NEW YORK (AP) – Thousands of police officers packed rain-swept streets on Wednesday outside the funeral for a slain New York Police Department officer with deep law enforcement roots in his native Guyana.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton were among the hundreds of mourners inside a Queens church paying tribute to Officer Randolph Holder.

“All of New York City is in pain at this moment,” de Blasio said in his eulogy. “Our hearts and our prayers are with this good family.”

The mayor spoke of how Holder came to the United States 12 years ago with a dream of becoming a police officer – like his father and grandfather had in Guyana – and “make the world better.”

Holder, 33, “served as a peace officer in the truest sense of the word,” the mayor said. “He loved to be in the community. He loved to connect to the people around him.”

Holder, a five-year veteran, was killed Oct. 20 while responding to a report of shots fired and a bicycle stolen at gunpoint in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood. Authorities have accused Tyrone Howard of hopping off the stolen bicycle and shooting Holder in the head. His attorney has said there are missing details in the case.

When they got the call, Holder and his partner “went toward that danger. They didn’t pull back,” Bratton said in his remarks. “Why? It’s what we do. … In Guyana or Harlem. It’s what we do.”

Bratton announced that he was posthumously promoting Holder to detective and issuing him a new gold shield with No. 9657 – the same number of the badge worn by his father, Randolph Sr. There was loud applause when he left the podium to give the badge to the father.

Holder’s fiancee, Maryiane Muhammad, also spoke, telling mourners his death was teaching her a painful lesson in courage.

“To simply wear the uniform of an officer is an act of courage,” she said. “You haven chosen to be both target and hero. It could be argued that to the loved one of an officer, we chose the same fate.”

Holder is to be buried later this week in Georgetown, Guyana.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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