Thousands attend funeral for NYPD officer Randolph Holder

Josh Einiger Image
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Funeral held for NYPD Officer Randolph Holder
Josh Einiger has the story.

EAST HARLEM, N.Y. (WABC) -- Thousands of people attended the funeral services for a New York City police officer who was shot in the head while pursuing a suspect.

Officer Randolph Holder's funeral was held at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York. Officer Holder's fiancee Mary Muhammad spoke about him flanked by family and friends for support.

"I have worn the shoes of grief and have walked many miles in them. Because of the love that I was so blessed to experience and the life that I was so privileged to live with my beloved, I have learned a different word, and that is courage," Muhammad said.

Randy Holder was a five year veteran, and the love of Mary Muhammad's life. They'd planned to marry. They never had the chance.

"To simply wear the uniform of an officer is an act of courage. You have chosen to be both target and hero. It could be argued that to be a loved one of an officer, we choose the same fate. But let's choose to be heroes," Muhammad said.

Law enforcement ran in Holder's blood. His father and grandfather before him swore the same oaths to protect as police officers in their native Guyana.

The third generation Holder would follow in their footsteps as a member of the NYPD.

"He did his family proud, and his department proud and our city proud, and for that today I posthumously promote Police Officer Randolph Holder, shield number 13340, to detective first grade and issue him shield 9657," Police Commissioner William Bratton said.

That's the same shield number worn by Randolph Sr. when he was a cop.

A father, a commissioner, a city, united in grief, under a thunderous standing ovation.

"Detective Randolph Holder, you are relieved of your duty as a New York City Police Officer, guardian at the gates of New York City, and we send you on your way to your new assignment, to be a guardian angel at the gates of heaven," Bratton said.

"It takes a strong man to dream and an even stronger one to accomplish it, he achieved his own vision for himself and at the same time achieved today's version of the American dream," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

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Hundreds of New York police officers gather in the street outside a church for the funeral of Officer Randolph Holder, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015.
AP Photo/ Julie Jacobson

Hundreds attended his wake Tuesday, where Holder, 33, was remembered as a humble man who loved his family and had pride in his job.

Holder always wanted to be a policeman, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who served as officers in Guyana. Holder joined the New York Police Department in 2010 and was assigned to a unit that patrolled the city's public housing complexes.

Darla Miles reports live from Jamaica.

As the NYPD honor guard carried the flag draped casket out of the church for the night Tuesday, it was silent.

At the wake, officers from across the country stood in line for blocks to offer condolences to Holder's family. "He worked hard each and every day. He was a very humble man, very good man, very good person, and that's what we're going to really miss about him," said Capt. Raymondo Mundo, NYPD.

RELATED: Vigil held at various precincts for officer Holder

A stream of dignitaries including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan stopped in. Most of them were back for the funeral Wednesday, but the Rev. Al Sharpton did not attend.

"I felt the attention must be on Officer Holder and the fact that the city's lost a police officer," Sharpton said. He'd been invited by the officer's family to give the eulogy, but facing an outcry from angry police unions, he backed out in a letter to Holder's father.

"There are those that want to make this about them and sideshows and I'm not going to engage in that," Sharpton said.

Nassau Police Benevolent Association President James Carver said Wednesday that more than 400 cops from Nassau County attended the funeral. "Officer Holder is a true hero that represents New York's and Guyana's finest," he said in a statement.

Holder will be buried in Georgetown, Guyana, where he is from originally.

The suspect, 30-year-old Tyrone Howard, hopped off the stolen bicycle and shot Holder, authorities allege. Howard was taken into custody a few blocks away and has been charged with murder and robbery. A grand jury has indicted him, but the charges won't be announced until a state Supreme Court arraignment on Nov. 24. His attorney has said there are missing details in the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.