2 Police Officers Mourned at Separate Funerals

Police attended both funerals in a show of solidarity and support.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork

    Two police officers killed in separate incidents last weekend were mourned on Long Island Friday, and many members of the NYPD and Nassau police attended both funerals in solidarity.

    Buses took police from the NYPD officer's funeral in East Islip to the Nassau officer's gathering in Selden, where thousands lined up in so-called walls of blue outside the St. Margaret of Scotland Church.

    Geoffrey Breitkopf, the Nassau officer shot dead by an MTA officer in a case described as a "friendly fire" incident, was remembered in a ceremony there.

    "When I heard the news, my first thoughts were of his wife and two small sons," said Mike Mullen, a Nassau special operations offer and friend of Breitkopf. "We are going to do all we can to care for them."

    Earlier in the day, the NYPD officer killed after he was pushed over a railing while trying to handcuff a suspect was remembered as a "gentle soul" whose sacrifice for the city will live on.

    Alain Schaberger was mourned by police officials, family and friends. Mayor Bloomberg described him as "a friend, a neighbor and a protector" to many people.

    "He dedicated his life to service and doing good and every group he met along the way considered him one of their own," Bloomberg said in the eulogy.

    Schaberger died last weekend after he responded to a Boerum Hill home for a domestic incident.

    When Schaberger attempted to arrest the suspect, George Villanueva, authorities say Villanueva pushed the officer, who toppled 9 feet over the railing of a staircase.

    Schaberger, a 10-year veteran, landed head-first in the cement stairwell that led to the basement and broke his neck. He died soon afterward at Lutheran Hospital.

    Villanueva said in an interview with the Daily News from Rikers Island that he didn't mean to kill Schaberger.

    "I did not know anyone had fallen," he told the News. "It all happened so fast."

    Schaberger entered the Police Academy two months before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and one of his first assignments was guarding the checkpoints around ground zero, helping families cope with their losses.

    He also served in the U.S. Navy from 1991 to 1995.

    Bloomberg spoke about Schaberger's grieving fiancee, Shoshone, and how they enjoyed lazy summer evenings of barbecues and badminton.

    "The happiness Alain brought to your life and to so many others is something that will continue to live on in your hearts," the mayor said. "And the story of his service and sacrifice will continue to live on in our city."

    Villanueva was indicted Friday on multiple charges including first-degree aggravated murder and assault. He faces a life sentence without parole if convicted.

    His rap sheet includes 28 prior arrests, mostly for robbery and burglary; he had been released from prison in February 2005.