WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (PIX11) — The life, kindness, and generosity of NYPD Officer Alexis Martinez were commemorated at his funeral on Friday in Washington Heights.
The 26-year-old, who was the victim of an apparent murder-suicide at the hands of his father, according to investigators, had been in the NYPD for just five years. Still, he’d distinguished himself well in that short time, his family members, friends, and colleagues said.
Many people also talked about his tragically disrupted potential at the funeral, which ended up being far more than a city-wide affair. There was an international aspect to the commemoration of a man who was clearly loved, well-liked, and deeply respected.
The ceremony at St. Elizabeth’s Church was so well attended that there wasn’t nearly enough room inside the sanctuary.
Instead, on the closed-off street outside of the sanctuary on Wadsworth Avenue, there was a sea of officers in blue. In addition to them, though, was a large group clad in white. It was Officer Martinez’s family members, wearing t-shirts that had different photos of him on the front. On the back of the t-shirts were a pair of angel wings, on either side of a silhouette of Martinez, at bat, in baseball. The silhouette had a jersey emblazoned with his number, seven.
Baseball was a sport to which Martinez was devoted, as was in evidence by another color seen on mourners at the funeral: orange. Members of the baseball team from Martinez’s alma mater, St. Raymond’s High School for Boys, came to the funeral wearing the jerseys of their team, which Martinez had helped to lead to a championship when he was a student there in the previous decade.
The overall mood at the ceremony was solemn, and somewhat sorrowful, with people mourning the loss of an officer with so much promise.
Sgt. Crystal Pineda is not only the vice president of the NYPD Dominican Officers’ Organization, but she was also a good friend of the slain officer.
“He had passed the sergeant’s exam, and he was assigned to [the] Bronx Narcotics [Division], where he was going to earn his detective’s investigator shield,” Pineda said.
“So humble, so hard-working,” she added. “He was literally like an angel on Earth.”
Martinez had done a lot in a five-year career that he’d hoped to make decades-long. His life was cut short on Aug. 2, when the officer’s father fatally shot him while Martinez was napping at his father’s home, during time off-duty, according to investigators. The father, who relatives said had mental health issues, fatally shot himself minutes later.
In attendance at Friday’s funeral were Mayor Eric Adams, Police Commissioner Edward Caban, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, and other top-ranking law enforcement officials. They were joined by more than a thousand officers from across the country, as well as a police delegation from the Dominican Republic, where Martinez was born and raised until he was four years old.
People in attendance who knew the officer personally said that he had strengthened them.
“Just a great, energetic young man,” said Dennis Rodriguez, the president of the Dominican Officers’ Organization, and a friend. “Full of heart, full of life.”
“Taps” was played by two trumpeters outside of the church, after the casket was loaded into the waiting hearse, after the mass. An NYPD helicopter flew low overhead as a tribute from the entire department.
As Martinez’s commanding officer presented the flag that had been draped over the casket to the fallen officer’s mother, she wept, loudly.
It was one of many moments of sorrow in the day.
However, various people talked about how Martinez’s legacy will live on.
Benjamin Aguirre, the athletic director at St. Raymond’s, had coached Martinez from the time the officer had been in middle school there. Aguirre said that Martinez would sometimes come by his former school to encourage the players on the current team.
In addition, said Aguirre, Martinez had given even more than just his time. “He reached out to us a couple of months ago and wanted to set up a scholarship for our guys going on their Florida trip,” the athletic director said, referring to spring training that the baseball team does yearly.
Aguirre said that Martinez gave financially “because he knew what St. Raymond’s meant to him. He just lived a life of service.”
At the funeral, it was announced that other people had been inspired by Martinez’s gift, and had added to it in his memory. The scholarship fund is now endowed in perpetuity, it was announced.
Martinez’s body is being flown to the Dominican Republic for burial.