FLATBUSH, Brooklyn (PIX11) — On Thursday, thousands of police and military officers, as well as elected officials and other leaders from throughout the region and from South Asia, laid to rest NYPD Officer Adeed Fayaz. In a pair of ceremonies for the fallen six-year veteran officer, there was a combination of police department traditions, Pakistani customs, Muslim prayers and practice, and American patriotism.
Fayyaz, 26, had lost his life in a crime against him while off-duty, but he received a full line-of-duty funeral at the Makki Masjid and Al-Rayaan Funeral Home here.
In the morning at the funeral home, Fayaz’s family members, friends and officers from the 66th Precinct, where he was based, came together to remember him. One of the people there was the officer’s best friend, Nader Ahmed. They’d been close since the two were in high school.
“He was up for being a sergeant,” Ahmed said outside of the funeral home Thursday morning. The two had attended Aviation Academy together in high School, Ahmed said, which had inspired his friend to apply for admission to the NYPD’s aviation unit.
“He had his life ahead of him,” said Ahmed.
As the time approached for the funeral service at the mosque, which is next door to the funeral home on Coney Island Avenue, thousands of people started gathering late in the morning.
The location is in the heart of the Pakistani-American community of Brooklyn, where, on Thursday, the makeup of the crowd was quite varied.
It was a scene not lost on the president of the biggest police union.
“We all sound different,” and have variations of appearance, ethnicities and other aspects, said Pat Lynch, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president.
“But we [all] have a shield on our chest, a patch on our shoulder,” he added.
That kind of diversity was the theme of the day, and was repeated by Mayor Eric Adams when he spoke during the funeral service inside of the mosque.
“He became the symbol of this city,” said the mayor, who also talked about how the funeral was made up of people from a variety of faiths and other backgrounds.
Fayaz’s own diversity of background and experience, and how it influenced his police career, is what Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell spoke about at the ceremony.
In deference to the mosque and Islam, she wore a hijab while sharing her message for Fayaz’s two children, four-year-old and three-year-old sons.
“Your father could tell you in any of the five languages he spoke,” she said, “to do right and forbid what is wrong.”
After the service, fellow officers saluted the casket, which was draped in the NYPD flag.
Some of the Muslim officers joined with others in shouting words of faith, including “Allahu Akbar” — God is Great — as the casket was carried by pallbearers to a waiting hearse in front of the mosque.
There, Fayaz’s two boys looked on as three helicopters from the NYPD’s aviation unit flew in a low tribute formation overhead.
The sight was all the more bittersweet, Fayaz’s uncle had pointed out in the funeral service, because his nephew’s interview to join the aviation unit was supposed to be on Thursday, the day that ended up becoming the day of his funeral.
After “Taps” was played, the commanding officer of the 66th Precinct presented Fayaz’s widow with the folded casket flag. Next to her, Fayaz’s mother wept, as a female lieutenant held her hand to comfort her.
As bagpipes and drums played, the thousands of people in attendance — from State Attorney General Letitia James, and Pakistani Consul-general Ayesha Ali, to local residents — stood in tribute and, in the words of the congregation to which Added Fayaz belonged, surrendered him to God, to Allah.