By Sadef Ali Kully
Alongside hundreds of police officers, retired NYPD Sgt. Raymond Moore stood tall to salute his son, Officer Brian Moore, who died from a gunshot wound to the head as his body was moved from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Moore was taken off life support Monday after suffering fatal injuries during a confrontation with an armed felon while on patrol in Queens Village last Saturday, police said.
The wake for viewing Offucer Moore is scheduled for Thursday at Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage and the funeral will be held at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford.
Police Commissioner William Bratton was joined by Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch and colleagues outside Jamaica Hospital for an informal procession to pay respects to Moore, 25, who was assigned to the 105th Precinct.
“In his very brief career he had already proved himself to be an exceptional young officer,” said Bratton, who called Moore’s death “a great loss to his family, a great loss to this city and a great loss to his department.”
Moore, who came from a long line of police officers, had made 159 arrests and received two medals for Meritorious Police Duty and two for Excellent Police Duty, Bratton said.
He lived with his family in Long Island on the same street that he grew up on in Massepequa. He began his police career in 2010.
“We are going take part in a sad, sad tradition and show respect to Brian and his family,” Lynch said before the procession started.
On a sunny day, officers from all parts of the city, uniformed and in plainclothes, members from the Fire Department, retirees and friends stood at attention – chests out, backs straight and hands saluting – as the ambulance carried Moore away from the hospital. His father, mother and sister stood front and center.
Around 6:15 p.m. last Saturday, Moore and his partner Officer Erik Jansen, both on the 105th Precinct’s Anti-Crime Unit, were patrolling the neighborhood when they saw a suspicious man they thought had a weapon. When they questioned him, he allegedly shot at both officers three times while they still were in the vehicle, the Queens district attorney said. Moore was struck in the head and immediately taken to Jamaica Hospital. His partner was not injured.
The accused gunman, Demetrius Blackwell, 35, from Queens Village, was arrested 90 minutes after the incident, a few blocks away from the crime scene on 104th Road. He was charged Sunday with attempted murder including assault and criminal possession of a weapon, according to the criminal complaint. After Moore’s death, the charges will be upgraded to first-degree murder pending a grand jury indictment, the Queens DA said.
Blackwell, who did not enter a plea Sunday, was given a court-appointed lawyer. He also has a well-documented and long criminal history, which includes lengthy prison time, according to officials.
Blackwell grew up in Queens Village, just a couple of blocks away from the shooting incident, according to neighbors. Estranged from his family, Blackwell found a place to stay, where he was arrested, in the neighborhood makeshift shelter which always gave people a place to sleep, according to Robert, a resident, who refused to give his last name, “Even with my own family here, that house found me a corner to sleep in – that lady is a good woman.”
Residents came in and out of their homes, heading to work or coming back from a night shift early Monday morning, giving up their parking space for the police searching the murder weapon.
Robert described Blackwell’s family as good people and said that Blackwell, himself, had been trying to stay out of trouble for the past year despite a long arrest record.
Familiar with the Blackwell family, Robert also had a soft spot for Officer Moore.
“I have seen him around and I invited him to my family barbecue for this summer,” he said.
After sweeping and searching the neighborhood, police officials recovered the weapon used to shoot Moore, a Taurus Model 85 five-shot revolver, in one of the backyards of a home on 104th Road, near the crime scene.
Authorities said the weapon found was traced back as stolen property to a bait and tackle shop in Perry, Ga. in 2011.
“Our city is in mourning. Our hearts are heavy. We lost one of New York’s Finest – and that phrase needs to be fully understood in this moment. We lost of one of the best amongst us – a young man who was called to do good for others, to serve others, who was willing to put his life on the line. That is not most people. That is one of the finest amongst us who will do that,” said Mayor de Blasio, who was not at the hospital Monday afternoon.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull