Thousands say goodbye to fallen officer Wen Jian Liu

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Sunday, January 4, 2015
Thousands pay respects to officer Wen Jian Liu at wake
Thousands pay respects to officer Wen Jian Liu at his wake on Saturday.

DYKER HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- In the constant, cold rain, police continued to pay their respects to the family of fallen officer Wen Jian Liu. Liu was an immigrant who found his American dream in an NYPD uniform. On Saturday, he wore his dress blues in his open casket.

A long line of blue marched into Ralph Aievoli & Sons Funeral Home in Dyker Heights where a broken family sat weeping. A newlywed wife, now a widow and parents now childless, received a host of VIPs on Saturday - from Mayor Bill de Blasio to Police Commissioner Bratton to Congressman Peter King.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, brokenhearted himself over the loss of his father, took time to mourn for the slain offcer.

"We have to stop any fights within the family and come together as a family of New Yorkers and stand strong - that's a message for all New Yorkers," said Gov. Cuomo.

Uniformed police officers from across the country were also among those lining up early for the wake of a second New York City police officer killed in an ambush shooting.

Among those attending Saturday's wake in Brooklyn were about 20 officers from the Los Angeles Police Department. Los Angeles Officer Hannu Tarjamo called the killings an "act of savagery that should be condemned by society."

"We're not here for politics. We're here solely for the Liu family and NYPD brothers and sisters," said Officer Tarjamo.

Luda Kaplan, 67, of Brooklyn, carried a handmade sign with a heart and "NYPD" on it as she stood across the street from the funeral home. She said her son-in-law was an NYPD officer for 20 years.

"When he left every morning at 4:30 a.m., we didn't know if he would come home," she said.

Before the wake began, some officers sought refuge from a light snow and low temperatures in a church across the street from the funeral home.

Liu's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday.

The White House says FBI Director James Comey will attend the service, representing the president.

Officer Liu's wish to become an officer was realized in December 2007 when he graduated from the Police Academy after years of serving the community as an auxiliary cop for the 72nd Precinct in Brooklyn.

On Saturday, in Chinatown, the community honored both fallen officers.

Thousands attended the funeral last Saturday for Officer Rafael Ramos.

The funeral arrangements for Liu took some time, as he had relatives traveling from China.

The New York City Police Department announced street closures related to the viewing and funeral service for Liu. Street closures and parking restrictions are expected to cause traffic delays. The use of public transportation is highly recommended.

From 12 p.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday, 65th Street between 12th and 14th Avenues will be closed and there will be no parking. Additionally, there will be no parking on 13th Avenue between 64th and 68th streets

From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, 65th Street between 11th and 18th Avenues will be closed to vehicular traffic, there will be no parking, and pedestrian traffic will be limited. Additionally, there will be no parking on 13th Avenue between 64th Street and Bay Ridge Parkway.