NEW YORK -- A security guard who was killed on the job at a federal government office building last week was a loving person and "incredible human being" whose death has been a terrible blow to his fellow guards, more than 200 mourners were told at a memorial service Thursday night for Idrissa Camara.
Camara, 53, was killed when a former federal employee entered the Manhattan building and opened fire before turning the gun on himself. An official motive for the shooting has not been provided by authorities, but federal documents show the shooter had been fired from a job years ago.
"The world lost an incredible human being when Idrissa Camara tragically died in the line of duty," Joshua Primrose, a vice president with FJC Security Services said at the service. "His courageous actions saved others and we will never forget."
Camara, a senior security guard at the private security company, was working as a contracted guard at the building in Lower Manhattan on Aug. 21 when Kevin Downing entered through a side entrance, police said. Downing shot Camara then walked through a screening area and headed toward an elevator, where he encountered another employee; Downing then shot himself in the head, authorities said.
Camara, a father of three young children, died at the hospital about an hour after the 5 p.m. shooting. He was supposed to have gotten off work at 4 p.m. but agreed to stay on for an extra shift.
"His co-workers and his community, which he loved and respected, will remember him as the sort of man who would give them the shirt off his back if he was asked," Primrose said.
Carolyn Harley, who worked at the Varick Street building with Camara for three years, said the mood remains somber among fellow security guards.
"The guards are very, very hurt," she said as mourners wept beside her. "We're all hurting, but nevertheless we made an oath to do our job and even in mourning we're going to do it to the best of our ability."
On Thursday night, Camara was posthumously awarded the director's citation from the Federal Protective Service.
The building where Camara worked houses an immigration court, a passport processing center and a regional office for the Department of Labor. Downing was a former federal employee at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Federal documents show Downing had been fired from a job at the New York City office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1999 and appealed the firing, claiming he had been targeted because he was a whistleblower.
Funeral services are set for Friday, Aug. 28, at 1 p.m. at the Masjid Aqsa Mosque on East 115th Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue in East Harlem. A prayer service will be held at 1:45 p.m.
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