By Bill Parry
The NYPD buried one of its top cops after a funeral mass in Woodside that was accompanied by unusually heavy security Friday morning.
Officers toted automatic weapons, canine units walked through the crowd and spotters watched from rooftops as Detective Harry T. Hill was laid to rest at the Church of St. Teresa just blocks away from where he was raised in Sunnyside.
The NYPD would not say if the heavy security was related to last week’s arrest of two Jamaica women who were charged with plotting a terror attack. The two accused women, Asia Siddiqui and Noelle Velentzas, had discussed bombing police funerals after seeing 20,000 cops at the funeral of assassinated NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos, according to the criminal complaint filed by the attorney general in Brooklyn.
The heavy security in Woodside might have been tied to who was expected at the funeral. Detective Hill was assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, so dozens of his colleagues in the FBI joined the hundreds of NYPD Officers in the overflow crowd at St. Teresa’s.
Six U.S. Navy Seals attended the funeral, sitting in the front row of the church. Hill joined the Transit Police in 1990, and was a 9/11 First Responder before his promotion to detective in 2008.
Hill’s death at NYU Langone Medical Center Monday came as a shock to all. He suffered a massive heart attack following a cortisone shot to his elbow, according to sources, and was subsequently removed from life support.
The NYPD said that the chief medical examiner would determine the cause of death. Detective Hill was only 46.
“Our hearts are filled with shock, disbelief and a sense of injustice,” Monsignor Steven A. Ferrari said, “That someone so young was taken from us. How could this happen? Why did this happen?”
Hill was an immensely popular figure in Sunnyside and hundreds of his neighbors joined his parents, Margaret and Raymond J. Hill, his brother Ray and sisters Linda and Rae-Ann.
The family asked that donations in lieu of flowers be made to the Navy Seal Foundation and the Hemophilia Association of New Jersey.
Detective Hill’s commander, Chief James Waters, called his death “unimaginable.” Adding, “Harry knew everyone, and everyone knew Harry. On Monday his service continued when Harry donated his organs. Harry lives on in them, and Harry lives on in us.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr