Thousands expected at funeral for NYPD officer slain on duty

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JAMAICA, Queens – Thousands are expected to gather at a Queens church Thursday to remember Officer Randolph Holder, who last week became the fourth NYPD officer killed in the line of duty in less than a year when a suspected bike thief and reputed criminal shot him in the forehead in East Harlem.

Law enforcement from across the city and across the country will attend the 3 p.m. service at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York. PIX11 News will air Holder’s funeral on air and on and the PIX11 News app.

The 33-year-old officer was responding to a call of shots fired the night of Oct. 20 near East 102nd Street and First Avenue. When they arrived, a man told him his bike was stolen at gunpoint by one of the individuals who witnesses spotted running along the footpath heading north on the FDR Drive, police said.

Holder and his partner encountered a man on a bicycle on that footpath near East 120th Street and that’s when shots rang out, Commissioner William Bratton said.

The suspect dropped the bike and pulled out a gun, firing one shot that struck Holder, 33, in the forehead, investigators said. The officer died hours later at a hospital.

Hundreds attended his wake Tuesday, where he was remembered as a humble man who loved his family and had pride in his job.

Holder joined the force in 2010, following a family tradition of entering law enforcement.

“He was a dedicated officer who went out there each and every day and made his best effort to make that good arrest,” a colleague said.

His death marks the fourth time in 11 months that an NYPD officer was gunned down on the job. President Barack Obama lauded his courage.

“Officer Holder didn’t run toward danger because he thought of himself as a hero,” Obama said. “He ran toward danger because he was a cop. It was part of his job description.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton was supposed to deliver the eulogy, but backed out because he said he didn't want to create a controversy.

After Wednesday’s service, Holder’s body will be flown to his native Guyana where both his father and grandfather served as police officers. He will be buried there Saturday.

Authorities say 30-year-old Tyrone Howard shot the officer in the head. He has been charged with murder and robbery. His attorney says there are missing details in the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.