Randolph Holder had been NYPD officer for 5 years

EAST HARLEM, N.Y. (WABC) -- New York Police Department Officer Randolph Holder spent 5 years on the force before a gunman ended his life on Tuesday.

Holder was assigned to the New York City Police Department's PSA 5, which polices the city's public housing developments.

Holder and his partner responded to a report of shots being fired at around 8:30 p.m. near a public housing development in East Harlem. The officers encountered a man with a stolen bicycle on a pedestrian overpass who fired a single shot, police said. Holder, 33, was struck in the head. His partner fired on the suspect, who had ditched the bike and fled down the river path near the highway, police said. He was caught several blocks away with a gunshot wound to his leg, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said.

He called the officer an "extraordinary individual" and said in a news conference that his heart broke for his father.

"Our hearts are heavy and we offer our thoughts and prayers to his family who are experiencing unimaginable pain as we saw when we met with them earlier this evening," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Holder was a native of Guyana. He worked in the NYPD division that polices the city's public housing developments. His father and grandfather were police officers in Guyana, Bratton said.

"He always wanted to be a policeman, and that he did," said the officer's father, Randolph Holder, Sr. "He delivered his duties diligently, with pride, discipline and principle. He was very prompt, punctual, easy-going young man."

Officer Holder moved to Far Rockaway 11 years ago to live with his mother and stepmother. In the neighborhood, he loved big family gatherings and listening to Soca music.

"He was the life of the family, he loved to DJ, loved Soca, but he also loved his job," said City Councilman Donovan Richards.

The third generation police officer was unmarried and doesn't have any children. His mother is deceased.

But he leaves behind three brothers, a sister, a long-time girlfriend, and many friends who love, respect and miss him dearly already.

"Respectable guy, and for someone to just wipe him away like that," said a cousin, Ruth Lawrence. "Thirty-three years old and he's helping his grandmother and his brother in Guyana."

The officer's girlfriend, Mary Muhammad, says they were about to close on a house next month with plans to marry. She has a 13-year-old daughter who lived with them.

De Blasio said Holder, who joined the force in July 2010, had an "exemplary record" as a police officer.

In honor of Holder, all flags were lowered to half-staff immediately until the day of Holder's interment, by order of de Blasio.

Dozens of Holder's fellow officers stood outside the hospital early Wednesday morning and saluted as the ambulance carrying their fallen comrade left. Afterward, many embraced one another.

"Tonight, he did what every other officer in the NYPD does when the call comes - he ran toward danger," Bratton said. "It was the last time he will respond to that call."

The shooting in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood happened while Holder and his partners were responding to a call of shots fired.

"He is the fourth New York City police officer murdered in this city in the last 11 months," Bratton said during a press conference at Harlem hospital where Holder was pronounced dead Tuesday night. "That's about as bad as it gets.

Nationwide, 100 officers have died in the line of duty so far in 2015. NYPD Officer Brian Moore, 25, was killed on May 9 during a patrol. A suspect was charged with murder. And at the end of 2014, on Dec. 20, officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40 were ambushed and killed by a man who said he wanted to kill some cops in Brooklyn. The suspect killed himself in a nearby subway station.

The New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund - Answer the Call announced Wednesday that $25,000 will be donated to Holder's family. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the families of all the men and women of the NYPD who put their lives on the line every day for us," said Stephen Dannhauser, chairman of the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund.
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