NY Daily News - December 24, 2014by Erik Badia, Barry Paddock, Larry Mcshane
Mayor de Blasio led New York City in a moment of silence for two slain NYPD officers, with the duo’s somber colleagues simultaneously doffing their hats at the Brooklyn murder scene.
The embattled mayor, after issuing another appeal for unity in the aftermath of the double murder of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, bowed his head at 2:47 p.m. Tuesday inside City Hall — three days to the minute after the killings.
Shortly after the subdued tribute to the pair, the White House announced that Vice President Joe Biden would attend the Saturday funeral for Ramos.
The vice president and his wife, Jill, are coming to New York at the request of President Obama, according to a White House spokesman.
At the Bedford-Stuyvesant memorial created at the death site, a few dozen police officers and firefighters removed their hats and bowed their heads in honor of their slain comrades.
De Blasio kissed and hugged his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray, when the moment of silence ended.
“God bless you all and please embrace those around you as a symbol of our belief that we will all move forward together,” the mayor declared.
There was no sign of any activity inside Ramos’ Brooklyn home when the moment of silence occurred.
At One Police Plaza, an announcement echoed through the quiet hallways as officers at the security desk bowed their heads in unison.
“We honor their service,” the announcement said. “We remember their service and we mourn their loss.”
Carol Amon, chief judge of the federal Eastern District of New York, ordered flags flown at half-staff and a moment of silence throughout the U.S. courthouse.
The mayor and the first lady, in a silent Tuesday morning pilgrimage, left a bouquet at the Brooklyn site during a somber visit about five hours earlier.
The pair did not utter a word after placing their floral tribute on the sidewalk where the impromptu memorial appeared after Saturday's killings.
They put the flowers down in front of a collection of burning candles left earlier by mourners who visited the sad site over the last three days.
The somber couple arrived shortly after 10 a.m. followed by a large media contingent, but neither spoke during their short stay at the slaying scene. De Blasio ignored questions from reporters.
The couple was accompanied by the pastor of their church, and he offered a brief prayer as the trio stood side by side beneath a sidewalk canopy.
The mayor kissed his wife on the cheek before they left separately in waiting SUVs.
Ramos, 40, and Liu, 32, were assassinated Saturday afternoon by a deranged gunman who came up from Baltimore with the stated goal of killing a cop.
Gonzalez absolved the mayor of any blame in the death, and said his family accepted the condolences offered by killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley's family.
"I hope I can meet with them in some way and grieve together," said Gonzalez. "I'd like to meet them and say, 'Thank you for feeling sorry for us.'"
Ramos' sister Sindy, speaking outside her slain brother's Brooklyn home, called on the city to unite instead of fight in the aftermath of the pointless killings.
"I need people to stop the crap, get it together," she said Tuesday. "We're supposed to be family. We're not supposed to be enemies."
She praised her hero sibling and said her own family was trying to keep it together despite the devastating death of Ramos just five days before Christmas.
"My brother was a simple, humble man," said Shirley Ramos. "But to see how many people loved him — it's just amazing, amazing.
"All we can do is stick together as a family. The NYPD now is our family, and they have been totally amazing."
The Ramos family is "very proud of him, and we want to bring a little bit of sweetness into their world of sorrow," Potasnik said afterward.
Sindy Ramos also sent along her family's condolences to the family of Officer Liu.
The newlywed Liu's wife of three months was home Tuesday morning when seven members of the sanitation police arrived at her house to leave flowers and candles. They spent a moment in silent reflection before departing.
"It's a terrible tragedy," said Lt. William Corey, one of the mourning septet. "It's hard to pick up the pieces when a fellow officers passes. It's hard to move on."
Minutes before de Blasio arrived at the murder scene, more than a dozen city sanitation workers pulled up in their trucks and left behind a giant wreath.
A steady stream of police officers was still visiting the scene where their two colleagues were blasted while sitting in their patrol car.