NEW YORK- Thousands of people paid tribute Friday in New York to one of two officers killed in an anti-police attack a week ago.
The coffin of 40-year-old Rafael Ramos was draped in the green, white and blue flag of the New York police department and brought to Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens borough. Dozens of officers escorted Ramos’s coffin to the church as an honor guard.
Ramos joined the police in 2012 and was about to become a chaplain.
“He was a man of great faith,” said Ralph Castillo, a pastor.
“We’re going to miss him a great deal.”
The married father of two was killed December 20 while sitting with his partner Wenjian Liu in their marked car outside a housing project in Brooklyn.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, shot the two police officers, apparently out of revenge over for the recent killings of unarmed black men by police. Brinsley then killed himself on a subway platform.
The shootings shocked the city and its 35,000 police officers and highlighted the tensions between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police force.
Large screens were set up outside the church for those who couldn’t get inside, and a crowd lining several blocks waited to pay respects.
An even larger crowd was expected to attend the funeral Saturday.
Vice President Joe Biden, de Blasio, police chief Bill Bratton and thousands of police officers are set to attend Ramos’s funeral.
Despite calls from the mayor for a truce until after the funeral, a small plane reportedly flew over the Hudson River Friday in New York carrying a banner reading “de Blasio, our backs have turned to you.”
De Blasio has been considered by some police officers as too sympathetic to demonstrators who have accused police of racism and excessive force against black people.
About 670 police officers from around the country will be sent to the funeral by Jet Blue airlines, which offered its services.
The funeral of the second policeman, Liu, who has family coming from China, has not yet been scheduled.