Funeral held for slain Mount Vernon cop

February 1, 2008 4:24:16 PM PST
Family, friends and fellow police officers are saying goodbye to a Mount Vernon police officer killed by Westchester County police.Detective Christopher Ridley, just 23, was off-duty when he was killed while trying to catch a suspect in a street fight.

Eyewitness News reporter Lisa Colagrossi has the story.

Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young declared February 1 an official day of mourning. Thousands of police officers, as well as family and friends, came to Grace Baptist Church to pay their final respects to Detective Christopher Ridley.

A cold rain fell on the long, blue line of Mount Vernon police officers, who were standing at attention for the start of the funeral.

Family members and other loved ones made their way to the church to say goodbye to the Ridley, who died in a hail of police bullets a week ago in White Plains.

Four Westchester County police officers, not knowing Ridley was a cop, opened fire as Ridley broke up a fight. His death has been devastating to the department.

"The one thing that it has done, it has brought the department a lot closer together," Mount Vernon Police Commissioner David Chong said. "It has brought us close to the family, and it's united the city. In essence, although we lost a brother officer, we adopted a family. We adopted the Ridley family."

Resident Herb Cornell says the entire community is feeling the loss.

"He was very well known in the community," he said. "His father is well known in the community. So, you know, it's just a terrible tragedy all the way around."

Inside, there was an overflow crowd and words of comfort from the minister.

"We come knowing that we have lost our brother, son," the Reverend William Mizell said. "But we also know that Heaven is better for it."