BETHPAGE, N.Y. (AP) — Blue ribbons were tied to utility poles and trees in this Long Island neighborhood on Thursday as thousands of officers began saying goodbye at a wake for a New York City police officer slain on patrol.
Purple bunting hung with photos of Officer Brian Moore in the windows of businesses near the Fredrick J. Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage. Heavily armed officers patrolled the streets and officers with sniper rifles were stationed on rooftops of nearby businesses.
More than 30,000 police officers from across the United States and officers from Canada were expected to pay their respects to a fallen comrade.
Moore, who lived in nearby North Massapequa, died Monday after being shot in the head while on duty Saturday. The 25-year-old and his partner had stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun when the man opened fire on them.
Moore had been on the force for only a handful of years, but he had already built up a record of more than 150 arrests and had earned meritorious service medals. He was the son, nephew and cousin of New York Police Department officers. They were at his side when he died at a hospital.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were among the mourners attending the wake.
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” Cuomo said afterward. “It’s an awful, frightening reminder of the sacrifice so many men and women in law enforcement make.”
The governor told reporters he admired that Moore had followed in his father’s footsteps as a police officer. Cuomo’s father, Mario, had served as New York’s governor in the 1980s and ’90s.
“I said to the father, ‘Your son must have really loved you,'” Cuomo told reporters. “He followed his dad into the business. He wanted to be like dad. He was proud of dad.”
Friends remembered Moore as a good guy eager to join the police force.
“He was just a regular, scrawny little kid who never got into trouble,” Jessica Anatra said of her former Plainedge High School classmate. “Just seeing his face and hearing about it, it’s horrible. He was a really nice kid. What happened is disgusting. He put his life on the line for us.”
Moore’s funeral is planned for Friday at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford.
The suspect in his killing, Demetrius Blackwell, faces charges including murder, attempted murder and other crimes. He is being held without bail and has not entered a plea. His attorney has denied the charges.
Ian Donley, 26, a sailor from Virginia who went to school with Moore and played sports with him, asked for emergency leave from the Navy earlier this week and boarded a bus Wednesday night to attend the wake. He arrived around 6 a.m. Thursday.
“It just hits home,” he said. “I haven’t been home in two years. I figured I’d just show my support.”