Thousands gather for funeral of slain NYPD officer

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Thousands of people have gathered at a New York church for the funeral of police officer Rafael Ramos, who was shot dead along with his partner in an attack specifically targeting police.

“He was studying to be a pastor. He had Bible study books in his locker, which is rare for a police officer, but that goes to show you the type of man he was,” said NYPD Captain Sergio Centa at Queens’ Christ Tabernacle Church, where the funeral is being held.

Police officers from around the country gathered to pay their respects to their fallen comrade.

“Law enforcement isn’t just your own department; it runs deep,” said Lieutenant Chris Thibault of the Ridgefield Park, New Jersey.

Ramos, along with his partner Wenjian Liu, were working a “critical response” detail in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn when they were ambushed in their patrol vehicle.

Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot dead as they sat in their patrol vehicle in Brooklyn, New York (photo: NYPD)

“According to witness statements, the suspect, who has been identified as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, walked up to the police car,” Police Commissioner William Bratton said shortly after the shooting. “He took a shooting stance on the passenger side and fired his weapon several times through the front passenger window striking both officers in the head.”

Bratton said that the officers “never had the opportunity to draw their weapons, they may never have actually seen their assailant.”

Brinsley then ran to a nearby subway station and killed himself by turning the gun to his head.

The shooting took place as thousands protested in New York over the killing of Eric Garner, a black man who was choked to death by a white policeman, triggering a wave of outrage across the country.