Thousands of mourners gather for funeral of NYPD officer Brian Moore
NEW YORK (CNN) — A sea of mourners, expected to reach thousands, gathered Friday outside a suburban New York church for a final salute to officer Brian Moore, who was shot last week while on duty.
Moore, 25, will be eulogized at a funeral at St. James Roman Catholic Church on the South Shore of Long Island, where throngs of officers and local residents assembled on a warm spring morning.
About 30,000 people were expected to attend, including law enforcement officers from across the country. Flags at city and state government buildings have flown at half-staff in his memory all week.
Shortly after 11 a.m., a black hearse stopped outside the church, where eight pallbearers gently lifted Moore’s flag-draped casket as bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.”
The casket was carried into the church, past Moore’s family, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife and lines of white-gloved officers standing at salute. The words of the hymn “Be not afraid” filled the vast church as mourners poured inside.
At the service, Monsignor Robert Romano, the NYPD chaplain, said Moore came from a family of police officers which he described as “the original Blue Bloods.”
“We will never forget our fallen brothers and sisters,” Romano told the congregation. “We will never forget Brian. We will never forget you.”
The funeral is in Seaford, a town about 30 miles outside New York City that is home to many police officers and firefighters. Moore lived near Seaford, where blue ribbons fluttered from trees and homes in his honor.
“This has really torn apart this community,” Republican Congressman Peter King said before the funeral.
Moore’s death is a stark reminder of the perils of police work at a time when protests have erupted throughout the nation over the sometimes strained relationship between police and the communities they serve. At the funerals of two officers killed late last year, some officers turned their backs on de Blasio, who the police union accused of not supporting law enforcement.
“It’s unfortunate that it takes a tragedy like this to remind people what an outstanding job cops do,” King said. “How they put their lives on the line day in and day out for us, and too often they’re slandered and attacked by the media and politicians.”
Moore and a fellow officer were shot while trying to question a man in Queens on Saturday. He was struck in the head; the other officer was not injured.
“In his very brief career — less than five years — he had already proved himself to be an exceptional young officer,” Bratton said.
Bratton said the fallen officer had a commitment to the job that made him stand out.
“In that career, he had made over 159 arrests protecting and serving the citizens of this city,” he said.
Moore had received two exceptional police service medals.
“We don’t give them out easily,” Bratton said. “He worked for them; he earned them.”
Serving as a New York police officer was Moore’s dream, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
“He did everything a good police officer was supposed to do,” he said.
Moore was the son, nephew and cousin of New York police officers.
Moore and another officer, Erik Jansen, 30, were sitting in an unmarked police vehicle in Queens on Saturday when they saw a passerby adjusting something in his waistband, according to the NYPD.
Moore, who was driving, pulled up behind the man, later identified as Demetrius Blackwell. Blackwell allegedly pulled a gun from his waistband and opened fire on both officers, who were in the car and had no chance to fire back.
The suspect tried to flee into the backyards of the neighborhood homes, police said. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder, but those charges were upgraded after Moore’s death.
The gun he allegedly used was stolen in Perry, Georgia, in 2011, according to police.