NEW YORK — One of two New York police officers who were shot and killed last weekend by a Muslim man who sought revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner was laid to rest on Saturday, being remembered as a Christian man who saw the streets as his ministry.
As previously reported, Rafael Ramos was shot execution style along with partner Wenjin Liu on Dec. 13 at they sat in their police car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. The gunman, Ismaaiyl Abdulla Brinsley, had shot and injured his girlfriend in Maryland that same morning, and then took a bus to New York in a plot to kill two random police officers. Brinsley, who had posted a photograph of text from the Koran on Facebook earlier this year that called for “strik[ing] terror into the enemies of Allah,” then turned his gun on himself at a nearby subway station.
The funeral service for Ramos was held on Saturday at Christ Tabernacle Church, where he and his family served for over a decade. An estimated 25,000 police officers attended the memorial in his honor. Ramos was characterized as a Christian man who was studying to become a community crisis chaplain, and contemplated working in the ministry full-time after retirement from the police force.
“He told me that his job even with the NYPD, he felt he was doing God’s work,” Marcos Miranda, president of the New York State Chaplain Task Force, told Arise America. “He felt that he was protecting and serving his community and that was a sort of a ministry for him. And I totally agreed with him.”
“As most of you may know by now, one of the officers, Ralph Ramos was a long-standing member of 14 years at Christ Tabernacle. When he was not working, he was highly involved in our church,” Adam Durso, the executive pastor of Christ Tabernacle wrote in a statement on the church website. “He served as an usher, was part of our marriage ministry and life group ministry. He and his family are well loved throughout the congregation.”
“He was a humble man and was willing to help at any capacity; helping people to their seats, moms with their baby carriages or the elderly in and out of our elevator,” he continued. “Ralph was definitely a family man. He always talked about his kids and how well they were doing athletically and academically. He loved his family and his church.”
Ramons’ cousin, Ronnie Rodriguez, likewise characterized Ramos as a godly man.
“My cousin had a couple of priorities in his life. One was God. He was a God-loving man and full-blown Christian,” he said. “He loved his job. He loved his wife. He was a dedicated father. I wish I could be half the man my cousin was, really. He was sweet. He didn’t deserve like this to die. He just didn’t.”
Neighbor Janette Cruz, 71, told the New York Post that she never saw Ramos in his police uniform, but would often see him headed to church.
“I will always remember him coming out of his house on his way to church and having Spanish gospel music blasting from his car,” she stated. “He was a very pleasant and very religious man.”
Ramos, who was also buried on Saturday, left behind a wife and two sons.
“Today is the worst day of my life,” his son Jadon, 14, posted to Facebook last weekend after learning that his father had been killed. “Today I had to say bye to my father. He was there for me every day of my life. He was the best father I could ask for. It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops, but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad.”