By Bill Parry
The skirl of bagpipes was heard last Friday in Far Rockaway as Briar Place was co-named Detective Randolph Holder Way to honor the slain NYPD officer whose family home stands across the street.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner James O’Neill and elected officials joined 250 police officers, firefighters and residents to honor the 33-year-old who moved to Far Rockaway from Guyana in the early 2000s, officials said.
“My son was a good disciplined guy, officer and a gentleman. He died doing what he did best,” Randolph Holder Sr. said. “Today is a bittersweet day. It started with a very sad day a year and nine months ago, but today is a very special day.”
Holder Sr.’s son was shot and killed in the line of duty on Oct. 25, 2015, during a foot pursuit along the FDR Drive promenade in East Harlem. Tyrone Howard, 32, a drug dealer known on the street as “Peanut,” was convicted of murdering Holder in April and is serving a life sentence in prison.
“I was driving, shedding tears,” Randolph Sr. said. “I was driving and thinking about my son that I do not have here anymore. But one thing I do know is if he were here, he would be glad that this was happening to him. He, too, was a police officer in his native Guyana, as was his father.
The mayor called the fallen officer, who was promoted to detective posthumously, a “great man” who lived the American dream.
“He came here to the Rockaways from Guyana to carry out a family legacy that’s extraordinary,” de Blasio said. “We can remember his works and his imprint he left on so many. That is why we name things for good people.”
Holder joined the NYPD in 2010 and worked with the department’s Housing Bureau in PSA 5 in East Harlem.
“While we know dedicating a street in his honor is worthy, we also recognize that it will never replace his humble demeanor, … his laughter and his love of calypso music,” City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said.
O’Neill, who began his law enforcement career in 1983, said he has seen too many of these street co-naming ceremonies during his 34 years.
“We put up signs to remember the heroes of the NYPD. As we move through the years, maybe some young man or young girl will look up at that sign and a person will tell them what a person Randolph Holder was, what a great job he did and why he became a police officer, and why people become police officers.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr