The father of the 33-year-old NYPD officer who was shot and killed Tuesday night said that his son was an easygoing, loving young man who did his duties diligently and with pride.
Randolph Holder Sr. was stoic as reporters interviewed him at his home in Far Rockaway, Queens, Wednesday morning. He said his son, Randolph Holder, had always wanted to be a police officer and took great pride in his job.
"He had always wanted to be a policeman and that he did," Holder Sr. said.
Holder moved from his native Guyana and joined his father in Queens about 10 years ago. His father said that he was planning to get a home on Long Island.
"He should have been closing on a house in the next month in Valley Stream," Holder Sr. said. "But all of those dreams went down the drain."
Holder Sr. said that he last spoke to his son at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, hours before he was shot and killed in East Harlem while responding to reports of gunshots. The father and son had been talking about music and music equipment.
"If I had known that was the last time, I would have told him not to go out for duty," Holder Sr. said. "If I had known... Stay home."
Holder also had strong words for Tyrone Howard, 30, who police believe shot and killed his son.
"To me, he should be put to death," Holder Sr. said.
But for now, he says that he doesn't have much to say to the suspect and that justice will be served.
"I'm not finding words fitting to describe what I would say to him," Holder Sr. said. "Nothing much to say, but lots of grief."
Malika Clarke-Yarde, 33, a longtime friend of Holder's, was also outside his Rockaway home Wednesday morning. She said the two had known each other since they were in high school together in Georgetown, Guyana.
She had been texting him Tuesday night before she fell asleep. When she woke up around 4 a.m. and saw the news of his death, she was in shock.
"Not Holder, not Randolph," she said. "And then when I saw the picture, I was emotional, I was weak. And then when I heard of his death, I couldn't come to grips."
Clarke-Yarde said that he has a lot of family back in Guyana, including a mother and grandmother who have "so much faith in him." She said they will be devastated by the news of his death.
"He run to serve this nation and this is how he got struck down," she said.
Clarke-Yarde followed Holder to the United States, where they lived together and had a relationship. She attended his NYPD graduation at Madison Square Garden. She remembered she had to brave a snowstorm to get to the ceremony. Although the two had what she described as a falling out, they still communicated.
"You don't feel it until it knocks home," Clarke-Yarde said, pointing at her heart. "Until it hits here and it causes tears from your eyes."
Black and purple bunting adorned the entrance to the East Harlem police stationhouse where Holder worked Wednesday as neighbors in mourning dropped off food and coffee for the officers inside and lit candles and placed flowers outside.
"We stand with the NYPD and we'll always stand with them," said one woman. "We pray that God would always protect them and that's our prayer every day, every night, and every time we think of them."
Michael Parker brought his 5-year-old son Mekhai, an aspiring police officer, to try to explain how Holder died trying to protect their neighborhood.
"The best way I could tell him what happened, he wanted to go see it, he said he wanted to go pay his respect," said Parker.
He added, "I'm from the community, I work here, I live in Wagner Houses. I grew up here and I don't want my son to think that everything is negative. We have to come to a middle ground."