NEW YORK (AP) – They spent Christmas day thanking police officers, one by one, who were at the site of the shooting. Rather than opening gifts or gathering around a Christmas tree, the family of fallen New York Police Officer Rafael Ramos spent the day filling his memorial site with roses and candles.
A day later, Ramos family will be saying goodbye to a church-going family man gunned down by a deranged killer.
Ramos will be remembered Friday afternoon at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale section of Queens, where he was a longstanding and deeply committed member, according to family and friends.
His funeral is scheduled to be held there Saturday; Vice President Joe Biden has said he will attend.
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.
Investigators say Brinsley was an emotionally disturbed loner, who started off his rampage by shooting an ex-girlfriend in Baltimore. He also posted online threats to police and made references to high-profile cases of unarmed black men killed by white police officers.
The killings ramped up emotions in the already tense national debate over police conduct. Since Ramosand Liu were killed, police in New York say they’ve arrested six people accused of threatening officers. A seventh man was arrested Thursday on gun charges after a bystander overheard him making threats against police officers and talking about guns in his home.
Liu’s funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.
Ramos celebrated his 40th birthday earlier this month. He had joined the NYPD in 2012 after working as a school security officer.
The lifelong Brooklyn resident was married with two sons: a 13-year-old who is in middle school and one who attends Bowdoin College in Maine.
The Silver Shield Foundation, a charity founded by the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, has set aside $40,000 for the education of Ramos’ sons. Bowdoin College said it will cover Ramos’ older son’s education costs as long as he remains a student there.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a charity created after 9/11, says it will pay off the home mortgages of the two slain officers.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
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