Watch CBS News

Funeral Held For NYPD Detective Killed By Suicide Bomber In Afghanistan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Uniformed police and U.S. military service officers lined the streets of Manhattan as thousands gathered to bid a final farewell to U.S. soldier and NYPD Detective Joseph Lemm.

Lemm paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty -- not on the streets of New York City, but in a warzone overseas. He was one of six Americans killed last Monday when a suicide bomber rode a motorcylce into a group of U.S. soldiers outside Bagram Air Base.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others attended the funeral Mass for Lemm at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Wednesday morning. Cardinal Timothy Dolan presided over the service.

During the service, de Blasio spoke of the love Lemm's fellow officers had for him, WCBS 880's Kelly Waldron reported.

"I heard over and over again, of his extraordinary loyalty, of his devotion," the mayor said.

PHOTOS: Joseph Lemm Funeral

CBS2's Lou Young was there for the final farewell on Wednesday, Fifth Avenue turned into a sea of blue as Lemm's flag-draped casket was carried into the storied church on the shoulders of fellow officers. About 100 police motorcycles lead a caravan along Fifth Avenue as police officers from departments across the state followed.

"You work with these guys, you go out with them, you drink with them, and you train with them. You live with them, so of course it's emotional. It's like a family," Anthony Kouvouras said.

The 45-year-old Westchester resident was a technical sergeant in the Air Guard's 105th Base Security Squadron and a 15-year member of the NYPD, working out of the 50th Precinct in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx.

"He was a good guy. He would do anything for you. Always made you laugh, always had a good time," said friend John Giudice who served with Lemm in Afghanistan two years ago. "He was a good father, a good friend, good brother. He would give you the shirt off his back."

"He was always smiling, he was the happiest guy you would ever see," Kavouras said.

Lemm is survived by his wife, Christine; his teenage daughter, Brooke; and a 4-year-old son, Ryan. At one point, Ryan was seen wearing his father's cap and saluting his casket.

Of the five eulogies delivered, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton seemed the most emotional. He said he'd only met detective Lemm once, at his promotion ceremony 2years-ago, but triggered a standing ovation with his salute to Lemm's record of service and ultimate sacrifice, and his promise to the family left behind.

"He spoke from the heart about a true American hero. It brings emotion to everyone. You can't help but rise to your feet out of respect and love for a fallen brother," PBA President Pat Lynch said.

There was a final salute outside the cathedral, and taps for a man who was as good as many wish they could be.

As the funeral procession made its way to the cemetery Yonkers residents paid their respects. Some saluted as they stood on the Midland Ave overpass on the New York State Thruway.

Lemm was  buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne.

On Thursday, the remains of 31-year-old Staff Sgt. Louis Bonacasa of Long Island will be returned in a ceremony at the F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach. Bonacasa was also killed in the attack.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.