Police Commissioner Bill Bratton hailed the young NYPD officer slain on patrol in Queens over the weekend as a smiling, devoted cop who dreamed of being in the force like his father and wanted to get the "bad guys off the street."
"He dreamed of being a cop," Bratton said Friday in a heart-wrenching yet at times humorous eulogy for 25-year-old Long Island native Brian Moore. "He dreamed of following his dad who he loved so much. He dreamed of getting the bad guys off the street. He wanted to make a difference."
Before the procession, a solemn quiet was only broken by the sound of bagpipes as Moore's hearse was driven to the overflowing St. James Roman Catholic Church. A sea of officers in dress uniforms from as far as California, Louisiana and Canada lined the street in salute. Heavy security was in place outside; snipers watched from perches at a nearby elementary school, and authorities imposed a 3-mile no-fly zone during the ceremonies.
Speaking to a crowd of about 30,000 police officers, loved ones and dignitaries, Bratton recalled how Moore, a devout Baltimore Orioles fan in a town of Yankees and Mets, smiled in every picture except his official department photo -- and only then, because he was told not to grin. At the end of the eulogy, Bratton's voice cracked as he posthumously promoted Moore to the rank of detective.
Moore, who lived in North Massapequa, died after being taken off life support Monday, two days after being shot in the head while on duty in Queens Village. The young man, who came from a family of NYPD, and his partner had stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun when the man opened fire, authorities have said. Moore's partner was not injured.
Mayor de Blasio described Moore as a family man who was devoted to being an NYPD officer from the time he was in middle school. De Blasio said Moore quickly rose through the ranks and was viewed as a respected member of the force.
"He didn't do it halfway," de Blasio said. "He devoted his whole being to the job."
After having to take a few weeks off for medical leave recently, Moore "counted the minutes" until he could return to work, and made a gun arrest his second day back — only a few days before he himself was shot, de Blasio said.
"Brian Moore represented the best of New York City," de Blasio said.
Moore's death came amid a national debate about policing, race and deadly force following the recent killings of unarmed black men by officers in New York; Ferguson, Missouri; North Charleston, South Carolina, and elsewhere. The funeral was a show of solidarity amid the deep scrutiny that Bratton said showed the importance of the profession and the men and women who swear to protect and serve their communities.
"Brian's death comes at a time of great challenge," Bratton said. "We are increasingly bearing the brunt of loud criticism. We cannot be defined by that criticism."
Moore's funeral comes five months after two other NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were killed in their patrol car, ambushed by a man who had posted online about killing police in revenge for the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.
"Once more, we find ourselves together in mourning. It is too soon, much too soon," Bratton said.
Liu's relatives were among the mourners Friday.
At Ramos' and Liu's funerals, hundreds of officers turned their backs to the mayor in a searing sign of disrespect. Police union leaders had said de Blasio had helped foster an anti-NYPD sentiment by allowing protesters to march through the city's streets after a grand jury decided not to indict an officer in Garner's death.
The funeral came a day after a wake that was attended by Gov. Cuomo, who characterized the shooting as “an awful, frightening reminder of the sacrifice so many men and women in law enforcement make."
Moore underwent surgery after Saturday's shooting for "severe injuries to his skull and brain" and was put in a medically induced coma, authorities said. He was taken off life support Monday and died a short time later.
Moore had been on the force for only a handful of years, but he had already built up a record of more than 150 arrests and had earned meritorious service medals.
The suspect in Moore's killing, Demetrius Blackwell, faces charges including murder, attempted murder and other crimes. He is being held without bail and has not entered a plea. His attorney has denied the charges.
Moore is the second alumnus of Long Island's Plainedge High School to be killed in the line of duty while working for the NYPD in Queens. Edward Byrne, a 1984 alumnus, was a 22-year-old NYPD rookie when he was killed Feb. 26, 1988.
Both officers lived on the same street in North Massapequa, where blue ribbons adorned many trees and utility poles in memoriam.