Thousands of officers from the tri-state area and beyond descended on Seaford on Friday for the funeral of NYPD Officer Brian Moore, a five-year veteran of the force tragically killed while patrolling in Queens last weekend.
A dense fog that lingered for most of the morning eventually gave way and the sun finally cracked through as busloads of officers streamed into Saint James Roman Catholic Church. Outfitted in their Dress Blues, officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder under a brilliant azure sky, ready to pay respects to their fallen brother.
“He was the man that walked in the room and made you laugh,” said Pat Lynch, president of the New York City Police Benevolent Association. “But after you were done laughing, you went out in the street and he was serious about his work, following in his father and uncle’s footsteps—truly blue bloods.”
Officer Moore, 25, who lived at home with his parents in Massapequa, was gunned down in Queens Village just after 6 p.m. Saturday. Police said 35-year-old Demetrius Blackwell, an ex-con, allegedly fired multiple shots into Moore’s unmarked patrol car. Moore was struck in the head. His partner, also seated in the car, wasn’t injured.
Friday’s funeral capped an emotional week for the Moore family.
The enormous sea of officers, including family and friends of the fallen cop, fell silent as a police motorcade led Moore’s hearse from the funeral home to the church, followed closely by limos holding his heartbroken family.
Moore’s father, an ex-NYPD Sergeant, became overcome with grief as his son’s NYPD flag-draped casket was carried into the church.
The mass was led by Monsignor Robert J. Romano, an NYPD chaplain, who told Moore’s parents that “we are here to let you know that we are with you,” adding that “millions” across the country were also thinking of the family.
“We are here to console you because your pain is our pain,” he said, “your loss is our loss.”
Of the tens of thousands of cops who made it their duty to pay their respects, Romano said, “they are here to honor Brian Moore.
“We will never forget Brian,” he added. “He has left an indelible mark on all those who were close to him.”
Moore was a brave and honorable cop who was living his boyhood dream of wearing NYPD blue, inspired by both his father and his uncle, speakers said. He was a doting son who made it his mission to spend every Monday—his day off—with his beloved mother, whom he adored dearly. Moore not only followed the path his father once traveled but he also adopted his father’s allegiance to the Baltimore Orioles, a rival of the hometown Yankees. And he was deeply devoted to his German Shepherd, Smoky, a family pet he cherished.
Most of all, speakers said, Moore was a cop’s cop with a passion and a sixth sense to sniff out crime. He made more than 150 arrests in his short career, and he was quickly promoted to the NYPD’s anti-crime team.
“He led a life that was very short,” but he accomplished “wonderful and great things,” Romano told the packed church.
Moore was only 17 years old when he first took and passed the NYPD entrance exam, said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“He devoted his whole being to the job,” de Blasio said, adding that “he knew that he was making the city safer.”
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton grew emotional at times during his speech, particularly toward its conclusion when, his voice cracking, he posthumously promoted Moore to detective. The announcement prompted a thunderous applause from inside the church, a wave of intense emotion that swept outside and poured into nearby streets, where police officers and members of the community also acknowledged Bratton’s remarks.
Not only did Moore dream of being a cop, Bratton said, he also dreamed of catching bad guys and taking them off the streets.
As one person who knew Moore told the commissioner, Bratton recalled, “he never showed up at work with the ‘why do I have to be here puss?’”
Behind the badge was a jokester with an infectious smile, Bratton said. The commissioner reported a recent visit Moore had had with his grandmother when the young officer asked her, “’Grandma, I thought this was a party. Where are the shots?’
“We need more like him,” a somber Bratton said. “We all need to be more like him.”
After the mass, which lasted more than an hour, Moore’s family streamed outside and was met by a silent sea of blue, all saluting the fallen officer. The silence was broken up briefly by police choppers soaring above. Moore’s parents and his sister held each other with firm grips as tears streamed down their faces. Moore’s father dipped his head several times and clutched his daughter while bidding goodbye to a son who wanted so bad to be like his dad. The green-and-white NYPD flag draped over Moore’s casket was presented to his grief-stricken mother, prompting more tears.
Nine police helicopters—representing the NYPD’s Missing Man Formation—flew over the church, cutting through the silence.
Then Moore’s casket was loaded into the hearse, which would take him to his final resting place, Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
Since his death, the community where Moore grew up has remained in a state of mourning, essentially in shock that an officer so young with so much pride in his job was taken so early.
“Unfortunately it takes a tragedy like this to remind [people] what an outstanding job cops do,” U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said outside the church. “My hopes and prayers go out to his family.”
Those neighbors living in homes near the church chose to decorate their facades with blue ribbons in honor of the slain officer. Many peered over a wall of officers from their porches to catch a glimpse of the sorrow-filled funeral.
“We are a local community, we wanted to support Police Officer Moore and his family,” said 50-year-old Diane Carrino, of Seaford, whose five-year-old son held a sign that read: “THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO, NYPD WE LOVE YOU.”
Carrino also said the day served as a lesson for her young son.
“We wanted to teach our children the importance of the police,” she said.
Rick and Susan Seymour of Levittown took up positions in the church’s parking lot. The couple has two nephews in the NYPD, one of whom works in a precinct that neighbors the 105th precinct where Moore worked. He was one of the fist officers who responded to the call of Moore’s shooting, they said.
Seymour said the show of support around the community and from officers who never knew Moore was “uplifting.”
“It shows that there’s still solidarity and strength and camaraderie, which is important for them,” he said.
Officers from as far away as California and Louisiana, Chicago and Boston and a host of other places traveled to Long Island to bid farewell to the fallen offficer. Blue ribbons hung from trees dotting the freshly manicured lawns outside the church’s entrance, and pink and purple wreaths ornamented the church’s doors.
Police set up large screens outside the church so the hundreds of officers on hand could watch the proceedings.
The screens also provided a heart-breaking reminder of why everyone had gathered, featuring Moore’s boyish NYPD photo and a police badge wrapped in a blue ribbon.
“1989-2015,” the screen read.