On a cold, grey New York City day, thousands of officers lined Fifth Avenue to bid farewell to Jason Rivera, their brother in blue who waswhile responding to a domestic disturbance call in Harlem last week.
Rivera and his wife, Dominique Luzuriaga, married in October. Now a widow, she struggled before a packed St. Patrick's Cathedral as she recalled a quarrel they'd had the morning of the shooting.
"You asked me if, 'You are sure that you don't want me to take you home, it might be the last ride I give you.' I said, 'No,' and that was probably the biggest mistake I ever made," Luzuriaga said in her eulogy.
Rivera, a 22-year-old rookie, was gunned down a week ago after a domestic disturbance call that also took the life of his partner, 27-year-old.
Luzuriaga recalled the moment she'd learned about the shooting.
"My heart dropped," she said. "I immediately texted you and asked you, 'Are you OK? Please tell me you're OK.'"
Then came the phone call she had feared, and the heartbreak at Harlem Hospital.
"Nobody was telling me anything. Dozens of people were surrounding me, and yet I felt alone. I couldn't believe you left me."
Luzuriaga's 10-minute eulogy was not only moving but defiant, bringing mourners to their feet after she addressed the newly elected Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who critics have called "soft on crime," as he sat among the dignitaries before her.
"I know you are tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA, I hope he's watching you speak through me right now," she said. "I'm sure all of our blue family is tired too. But I promise, we promise, that your death won't be in vain. I love you until the end of time. We'll take the watch from here."
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