President Donald Trump went off script during the Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on Tuesday, May 15, when he spotted in the audience the family of a New York City police officer assassinated less than a year ago.
The memorial, held on the West Front of the Capitol, honors law enforcement officers fallen in the line of duty.
In the middle of his speech, when Trump started to talk about ambush attacks on police, he mentioned Detective Miosotis Familia, who was fatally shot in an unprovoked attack on July 5, 2017.
At 12:30 a.m., when Independence Day celebrations still echoed through the city, she was sitting in a police van near the corner of Morris Avenue and East 183 St. in the Bronx when a man, identified as Alexander Bonds, approached the van and shot one round in the window striking Familia in the head. Familia’s partner, Officer Vincent Maher, immediately called for medical help. Familia was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital where she died.
Trump started to search in the crowd for Familia’s family and then invited them to join him on the stage.
Familia’s children, a 20-year-old girl and 12-year-old twins, came up followed by their 90-year-old grandmother. Trump told them it wasn’t planned, but when he saw them in the audience, he had to invite them up. “Because you’re representing something so important,” Trump said.
Familia, 48, was a 12-year NYPD veteran. Before that she was a nurse and a Red Cross worker, The Daily News reported.
On Tuesday, Maher followed Familia’s mother on the stage. Trump surprisingly asked him to say a few words about Familia to the audience.
“This is a woman who got injured a while ago and volunteered to come back to patrol to one of the roughest places in New York City,” Maher said. “She volunteered to leave a cushy job to come back to patrol.”
After speaking of Familia, Trump clutched the hand of her mother and asked all families in the audience who’ve lost a loved one to stand up.
“You lost mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and America lost incredible heroes. But they will endure forever … in our memories, in our hearts, and in the countless lives they touched through their courage and through their grace. Their legacy will never die,” he said and then turned to the Familia family again.
“Your mom’s legacy will never, ever die,” he said. “You have good genes. Right? Good genes. The best genes I’ve ever seen. ”
He then continued.
“In a moment, we will listen to the roll call of these great, fallen officers. As we read the names of your loved ones, we engrave them into the eternal chronicle of American valor. And when that siren blares, when the squad car races down the street, when the police officer steps forth confident and proud and strong—so brave in that crisp, blue uniform—we will think of you,” he said and then turned to Familia’s mother. “We will think of your incredible daughter. We will be thinking of her.”
“We will be thinking of all of the heroes we lost, and we will thank God for the men and women of law enforcement.”