SEAFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- It was an overwhelmingly sad day for thousands of police officers from around the country Friday, as they flocked to Long Island for the funeral of NYPD Officer Brian Moore.
The 25-year-old officer died Monday, two days after he was shot in the head while on duty Saturday evening in Queens Village.
Moore's funeral service was held at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford – a hallowed place where the funeral for another slain NYPD officer, Edward Byrne, was held in February 1988.
As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, Moore was also promoted posthumously to detective Friday. He was remembered as an American hero, a joy to know, and a team player who gave up his life for a greater good.
Bright midday sun outside the church beat down on a dark sea of sadness, stoic faces, and heavy hearts.
"We are here for here for the mom and dad and the police officers," said Nualah Carroll of Seaford. "It's a dark day."
As CBS2's Sonia Rincon reported, police motorcycles roared by in tribute, and helicopters flew overhead in a missing man formation.
The procession snaked slowly to the church, where another murdered NYPD officer was laid to rest a generation ago. Moore grew up in nearby Massapequa, knowing just what he wanted to be – a police officer like his father, uncle and cousins.
He took the NYPD entrance exam at the age of 17.
"If you came here to hear a homily today that would ease your pain, I'm not your man,'' Monsignor Robert Romano, a New York Police Department chaplain, told the mourners. But, he added, "we are here today united as a family -- a family of blood, a family of blue, and the American family.''
In delivering the eulogy, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton emphasized just how much passion Moore demonstrated for the job.
"It's not many of us who can say we lived out a dream. But Brian could," Bratton said. "He dreamed of being a cop. He dreamed of following his dad, whom he loved so much. He dreamed of following his dad's brother, and his aunt's husband, and his cousins… cops from this fine family—and a host of others who grew up in these neighborhoods around us—they patrol Nassau, and Suffolk, and Queens, and the whole city."
Bratton also announced Moore's posthumous promotion to detective first grade.
Moore's mother was presented with the NYPD flag as Bratton announced the posthumous promotion.
"He had an eye for the street. He loved working the street. He could smell a gun, as they say. He had the gift -- not even five years on, but he was already in Anti-Crime; 150 arrests; already decorated many times," Bratton said.
NYPD Officer Brian Moore Posthumously Promoted To Detective
Mayor Bill de Blasio also spoke at the service, 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck reported. When delivering his remarks, de Blasio said Moore was "a young man, but a very great man.''
The mayor also said Moore represented the best of New York City and his bravery was matched by his compassion.
Funeral Held For NYPD Officer Brian Moore
De Blasio said he "just couldn't wait to be old enough to join the force.''
The mayor had been shunned by police at the recent funerals for officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were shot and killed in their squad car on Dec. 20 of last year. But on Friday, he spoke to a united and heartbroken city.
"Now, it's up to us - to all of us - to nurture the seeds that he planted; to help the city he loved so much grow stronger and safer for all," the mayor said. "That's what he would want, and that's what we will do in his memory.
And Moore's extended family, bound by blue thread, came from across the country and beyond. Busloads of officers came from as far as California, Louisiana, and Chicago to line the streets of Long Island.
An estimated 30,000 officers attended the funeral, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.
"It's hard to be here to see such a young guy, and to think someone could do that to him and just not think twice about it," said Pittsburgh police Officer Christyn Zett.
Even officers from Canada and as far away as Australia attended.
"It doesn't matter where you work," said an officer from Australia. "It's the same job. It's the same danger."
Estimated 30,000 Cops Attend Funeral For NYPD Officer Brian Moore
Officers said Moore's eternal sacrifice painfully punctuates the danger of policing.
"It hits home," said Brookline, Massachusetts police Officer Michael Disario. "It shows you every day you leave for work and put that badge on, you may not come back."
"Right now, it's a tough time in law enforcement,'' added Detective Omar Daza-Quiroz, 33, who traveled to the funeral from Oakland, California. "Sometimes people forget we are human and that we have lives.''
Mourners, including the busloads of police officers, converged under heavy security for the funeral. Snipers watched from a nearby elementary school roof and authorities imposed a three-mile no-fly zone above the church. K-9 units and counterterrorism police officers were also there, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported.
Surveying the turnout, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called it "unfortunate that it takes a tragedy like this to remind people of the outstanding job cops do.''
NYPD Officer Brian Moore To Be Laid To Rest On Long Island
And meanwhile in the Queens Village neighborhood that Moore protected, a candlelit memorial was growing Friday night. Those who could not attend the funeral left flowers at the 105th Precinct stationhouse, and schoolchildren will be honoring their local hero by planting a garden in Moore's honor.
Word spread, and so far, at least a dozen Catholic schools are chipping in to help St. Gregory the Great's garden fundraiser -- marked with a dress down day in blue. Students held heart shapes to show their hearts were with Moore.
"Looking down from up there on all that blue, it was really very moving," said principal Lynn Alaimro.
Moore's death came amid a national debate about policing, race and deadly force following the recent killings of unarmed black men by officers in New York; Ferguson, Missouri; North Charleston, South Carolina, and elsewhere.
But last weekend's shooting also came only five months the shooting that killed Ramos and Liu in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. They were ambushed by a man who had posted online about killing police in revenge for the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.
Liu's relatives were among mourners who arrived early for Moore's funeral. So was city Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and paralyzed in July 1986 and became an international voice for peace.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the mourners attending the officer's wake on Thursday.
At Ramos' and Liu's funerals, hundreds of officers turned their backs to the mayor in a searing sign of disrespect. Police union leaders had said de Blasio had helped foster an anti-NYPD sentiment by allowing protesters to march through the city's streets after a grand jury decided not to indict an officer in Garner's death.
An uneasy truce between de Blasio and the police eventually settled in after some police union infighting, a public backlash to a NYPD job slowdown and a series of City Hall investments in the police department. There has been no similar sign of tensions in the wake of Moore's death:
De Blasio's "words are measured and careful to know that there's support, and that's important,'' said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, who once said de Blasio had "blood on his hands'' after Liu's and Ramos' deaths.
Moore had been on the force for only a handful of years, but he had already built up a record of more than 150 arrests and had earned meritorious service medals. He was the son, nephew and cousin of New York Police Department officers.
Moore and his family are "truly blue bloods,'' the union chief said.
The young officer "was the man who walked in the room and made you laugh,'' he said, but on the street, "he was serious about his work.''
The suspect in Moore's killing, Demetrius Blackwell, faces charges including murder, attempted murder and other crimes. He is being held without bail and has not entered a plea. His attorney has denied the charges.
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