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Hundreds mourn slain officer at Glendale wake

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With the line to enter Police Officer Rafael Ramos’ wake at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale stretching nearly four blocks , hundreds crowded behind police barricades and watched mourners come and go in solidarity with the fallen cop’s family.

Jazmin Amaro, a Ridgewood resident, said many in her community attend the church and were distraught over their fellow parishioner’s slaying.

“They’re very saddened. Some of them knew him, others heard of him,” Amaro said. “It seems that he was very involved... Even though we’re strangers, people come together to give support.”

Amaro stood beside her mother, who stretched her arms out to display a Puerto Rican flag.

“He was Puerto Rican, and as Puerto Ricans, we’re also representing his culture,” Amaro said.

The navy Police Department uniform was a staple on the line snaking toward the 64-34 Myrtle Ave. church. A digital screen set up in a nearby gas station displayed a brief expression of thought and prayer for Ramos’ and fellow Officer Wenjian Liu’s family, the police force and city on behalf of the church. Soft, classical music accompanied it.

Ramos and Liu were gunned down last weekend by Ismaaiyl Brinsley near the Tompkins Houses in Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, police said. Brinsley, who appeared to be seeking revenge for two black men killed by police in Staten Island and Ferguson, Mo., committed suicide after the shooting, the NYPD said.

The NYPD had a tight security setup, stationing men on top of buildings near the church.

Borough President Melinda Katz and state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) said thousands squeezed into Christ Tabernacle to support Ramos’ family.

“We spoke to the older son and he’s kind of holding it together for the family. It’s amazing,” Weprin said of Ramos’ adolescent son. “There’s no question, his support network has expanded by millions.”

Indeed, Ramos’ relatives were on the minds of many.

Jillian Guile mentioned his relatives as she tied a strip of blue streamer into a bow, adding to the display of blue pride on Stop & Shop’s fence.

“I feel bad for the family of the two officers,” said Guile, a Glendale resident. “I hope they can heal.”

Louis Garcia brought his three daughters to Myrtle Avenue as an educational experience.

“I’m trying to have my children know what it is.. to let them see what went on,” Garcia said, noting he had several friends in the NYPD, including the godfather of one of his children. “When one of our officers falls, cops from all over, everyone comes to pay respect.”

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle by e-mail at strangle@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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