Wednesday, October 21, 2015

New York City police officer shot and killed

By Ann Ubelis

For the fourth time, in 11 months, a New York City Police Officer has been murdered.  On Tuesday night, just after 8:30pm ET, Police Officer Randolph Holder, while on duty, exchanged gunfire with a perpetrator and was shot.  He succumbed to his injury and died.

Officer Holder, a 5 year veteran, and his partner were in plain clothes, when they responded to a report of an armed robbery involving a bicycle.  The suspect was spotted by Officer Holder and his partner on a pedestrian bridge.  He fled from the pursuing officers.  The officers indicated they were chasing more than one person, then exchanged gunfire with them, authorities said.  During the foot pursuit and gunfight on the overpass in the Harlem section of Manhattan, hugging the East River, the gun happy trigger man, callously shot Officer Holder in the forehead.  Police Commissioner William Bratton said, "The brave officer died at 10:22pm ET at Harlem Hospital."

“There were six or seven shots, they were exchanging fire,” said John Lucero, 19, who could see the shooting from his apartment window. “There were three of them, one police officer and two other men. Cops were pointing at a body. It was a police officer. He was just lying there.”

The perp ditched the bike and fled on foot.  He was captured four blocks away at 124th Street.  The suspect was shot in the leg and arrested.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said at a news conference at Harlem Hospital, where Officer Holder was rushed, "A suspect was in custody at another hospital after being wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police."  "The suspect is expected to be charged later Wednesday, and his name will be released at that time", NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said.

The FDR Drive is remaining closed today, Wednesday morning, from the Robert F. Kennedy Triborough Bridge to East 96th Street as NYPD continues its investigation, according to police officials.

Holder, a native of Guyana emigrated to the United States and was a third generation police officer.  His father and grandfather were police officers in Guyana.  He joined the department in 2010 and was assigned to Housing Bureau PSA 5, patrolling the housing projects of East Harlem.

“Three generations of police in this family. And now the latest generation served here with us in the New York City Police Department,” Bratton said.  “And tonight, he did what every other officer in the NYPD does. When the call comes, he runs toward danger. It’s the last time he will respond to that call.”

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who was attending an invitation only fund raiser at the newly repaired Gracie Mansion, speed to the hospital.  He appealed to New Yorkers to "offer prayers to his family who are experiencing unimaginable pain . . . It's a sadness that is so hard to describe. We are fighting to understand."  He added, the city is in mourning.

“We are fighting to understand the loss of a man who did so much, cared so much, dedicated so much to protecting others,” he said.

“An immigrant who wanted to give back to his city and his country. … In the words of Abraham Lincoln, a man who gave the last full measure of his devotion on behalf of a city he loved.”
Officer Holder lived in Nassau County on Long Island.  Nassau County Police PBA president James Carver expressed sympathy for the loss of "a fine officer."

"Our heartfelt prayers go out to the family of five-year veteran Police Officer Randolph Holder. He is a true hero by putting his life on the line to protect the citizens of the City of New York," Carver said in statement. "Having grown up in a cop family in Guyana, as the son and grandson of police officers, his family dedicated themselves to law and order, and he will be remembered as one of New York's and Guyana's finest.

"The members of the Nassau County Police Department PBA express our deepest sympathy to the NYPD for this tragic loss of a fine officer."

Events Unfold

Officer Holder and his partner receive a call of shots fired.  They respond to the location and encounter witnesses who told them the man had fled on foot toward the foot bridge.

Both officers further encounter another witness who said he was robbed of his bike at gunpoint.  The officers saw the armed assailant and exchanged gunfire at East 120th Street and the FDR Drive.  Officer Holder was hit in the forehead and crumpled to the ground.

The gunman was shot in the leg and arrested.  Recovered at the scene were two firearms -- a semiautomatic handgun and a revolver.  Police took three other men into custody for questioning on their possible involvement.

Holder was rushed to nearby Harlem Hospital, where doctors worked frantically to save his life.
The suspect was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, was expected to be released Wednesday and transferred to police custody.

About one hundred Police Officers held a vigil outside of Harlem Hospital hoping and praying for their fallen colleague.  When learning of Holders death, they formed an Honor Guard for Officer Holder as the ambulance passed carrying his body.

“New York City police officers everyday go out and carry themselves on the street like superheroes on the street," Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said. “But the reality is, when we’re attacked, we bleed. When we bleed, we die. And when we die, we cry.”

The slain officer's father, who rushed to the hospital, amazingly was on hand, comforting his son's fellow officers, while also dealing with his own grief.

“When in his time of grief, he sought to comfort the officers of PSA 5. He was strong enough and brave enough to go in and address them as they tried to comfort him. He in fact was comforting them,” a teary-eyed Bratton said.

“I can understand his son and the bravery his son exhibited tonight, rushing toward danger and giving his life for the citizens of New York City.”

Three Other Cops Killed

Holder is the latest cop killed, but three other New York City Police Officers were slain in the line of duty in the past year.

Brian Moore, who was fatally wounded as he sat in an unmarked police car in Queens with his partner on May 2. The officers saw a man adjusting something in his waistband, and when they pulled up behind him to ask, the man opened fire on them, hitting Moore. His partner was uninjured.
Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were approached by a gunman, as they sat in their car in Brooklyn, December 20, 2014. He coldly shot them both in the head, killing them.  The suspect then killed himself.

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