NYPD Heartbreak: Compassion, Healing, Unity

December 26, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

Just hours after NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos was murdered while protecting the people of New York, his son Jaden did what countless teens do every day—spend time on Facebook.

But unlike the sentiments of other teens, the post of 13-year-old Jaden Ramos crystallized the heartbreak of a boy who just lost his beloved father.

“Today is the worst day of my life. 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 for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people they call for help.”

These words from a boy who loved his dad call us to compassion, healing, and unity.

NYPD: A Tragic Day

Officer Rafael Ramos, 40, and his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, 32, were both killed as they sat inside their police cruiser in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20.

As expressed by Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, “Today, two of New York’s Finest were shot and killed, with no warning, no provocation. They were, quite simply, assassinated—targeted for their uniform, and for the responsibility they embraced to keep the people of this city safe.”

NYPD Station, Times Square, Dec. 19, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
NYPD Station, Times Square, Dec. 19, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos

Just this month, Ramos celebrated his 40th birthday. He was previously a school security officer and lived with his wife and family in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, the neighborhood he grew up in.

On the day of his death, Ramos was just one hour away from graduating from a volunteer chaplain program after 10 weeks of study.

NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos. (Courtesy NYPD)
NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos. (Courtesy NYPD)

His aunt, Lucy Ramos, addressed the media on Dec. 22: “I would like to thank all those who have shared their sympathy and support for our beloved family member Raphael Ramos who will always be loved and missed by many. I hope and pray that we can reflect on this tragic loss of lives that [has] occurred so that we can move forward and find an amicable path to peaceful coexistence. We would also like to extend our condolences to the Liu family.”

NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu

Officer Wenjian Liu was a seven-year veteran of the department and was married just two months prior to being killed. He lived in Gravesend, Brooklyn, and has family in Taishan, Guangdong Province, China.

When Officer Liu was married, over 300 people attended his reception at Super Lucky Seafood Restaurant on Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn. The place was filled-to-capacity with family and friends.

NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu. (Courtesy NYPD)
NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu. (Courtesy NYPD)

Officer Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen spoke after his death, “The Liu family would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the police department, our neighbors, the entire New York City community. … We would like to express our condolences to the Officer Ramos family. This is a difficult time for both of our families, but we will stand together and get through this together.”

Once, Officer Liu told a neighbor, “I know being a cop is dangerous but I must do it. If I don’t do it and you don’t do it, then who is going to do it?”

Liu’s family also released a statement expressing “Liu came to America when he was just 12 years old to seek the American dream … to seek a better life for the family.”

Final Reflections

America must pause to honor these NYPD officers. Officer Ramos and Officer Liu represent the heart of all that is great about our country, love for family, selfless service to community, and diversity.

Along with the families and friends who mourn the loss of these officers, the 84th Precinct Station House in Brooklyn, where both were assigned is heartbroken. The entire NYPD is also heartbroken as well as police officers and law-abiding citizens throughout the nation.

America must pray for the families of these fallen officers. We must also appreciate and support the police who protect and serve our communities.

As these heroes who have offered the ultimate sacrifice are laid to rest, may the reawakening of the nation be inspired in their honor.

Vincent J. Bove
Vincent J. Bove

Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com