Slain NYPD Officers Liu and Ramos Remembered – Wall Street Journal

Posted: Sunday, December 21, 2014

Officers Rafael Ramos, left, and Wenjian Liu

New York City police Officer Rafael Ramos was to graduate as a church chaplain this weekend before he was killed by a gunman on Saturday.

On Sunday, he was mourned by follow congregants at Christ Tabernacle, a red-brick Evangelical Christian church in Queens.

“He was trying to make a change,” said Jose Ortiz, the 59-year-old head of church’s security, who identified himself as a retired police officer. “He wasn’t just a uniform.”

Officer Ramos, 40 years old, was described by friends and family Sunday as a devoted father of two sons. Members of his church said he was also a pious man.

A Facebook page apparently belonging to Officer Ramos was adorned with the quote: “If your way isn’t working, try God’s way,” and said he had studied at a seminary before joining the New York Police Department.

Officer Ramos, a married father, and his partner, Officer Wen Jian Liu, 32, were shot at close range while sitting in their squad car in broad daylight Saturday in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The alleged gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, took his own life a short time later.

The officers were members of the 84th precinct in downtown Brooklyn but had been assigned to patrol the Tompkins Houses, a public-housing project in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where there had been reports of violence, officials said.

Officer Ramos joined the NYPD just two years ago. Officer Liu was a seven-year veteran of the force who had gotten married two months ago.

On Sunday, Police Commissioner

William Bratton

ordered all NYPD flags to be set at half-mast and said in a message on Twitter that Officers Liu and Ramos had joined a line, already too long, of seven other sets of police partners “who served together and made the ultimate sacrifice together.”

“We will not forget them, and we will not forget the oath they took—that we all took, too—but for which they died,” Mr. Bratton’s message read.

Candles and flowers were left outside a detached single-family home in Brooklyn Sunday, which neighbors said belonged to Mr. Liu and his wife.


Sophia He, a local bodega owner, said the couple came into her shop almost daily to buy scratch lottery tickets. “Every time he was in here he was so happy,” said Ms. He, 30. “He was always with his wife.”

A local florist, Steven Angotti, described the recently-married couple as quiet and clearly in love.

Jason Ayala, 32, a congregant at Christ Tabernacle and a researcher at Sloan-Kettering Hospital in Manhattan, described Officer Ramos as a generous man who worked for the church security and volunteered with church youth performances. “It’d be a comedy thing, to make the kids laugh… He was a great member, and a very humble man.”

A Facebook page that appeared to belong to Jaden Ramos, Mr. Ramos’s 13 year-old son, said on Saturday: “Today is the worst day of my life,” describing his dad as “the best father I could ask for.”

Margarita Ramos, another relative, responded: “And mine too love you.”

On Sunday, Ms. Ramos described herself as Jaden Ramos’ aunt and confirmed the Facebook page belongs to Jaden, Rafael Ramos’ son, and that he wrote the comments. “That’s my nephew,” she said. “Yes, it’s his.”

Mr. Ortiz spoke of Mr. Ramos as a deeply spiritual man. “He gave everything to Christ,” Mr. Ortiz said. Calling Mr. Brinsley “a coward,” Mr. Ortiz said of Officer Ramos: “He hasn’t died in our hearts.”

Rev. Marcos Miranda, president of the New York State Chaplaincy Task Force, appearing on a Sunday morning radio talk show, said that Mr. Ramos was one of nearly 150 community-crisis chaplains set to graduate from a training program on Saturday afternoon. “We are heartbroken today,” said Mr. Miranda.

He described Mr. Ramos as a loving father and husband, and an active member of his local church, adding that Mr. Ramos would come in after work to take his chaplaincy classes. He “wanted to serve people in a better way.”

—Sonja Sharp and Thomas MacMillan contributed to this article.

Write to Mike Vilensky at


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