GLENDALE — Thousands of police officers and other mourners flocked to the Christ Tabernacle Church Friday to pay their respects to Police Officer Rafael Ramos, who was gunned down along with his partner Wenjian Liu as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
Capt. Sergio Centa, commanding officer of the 84 Precinct, who worked with the slain officer at the 79 Precinct when Ramos was a rookie remembered him as "a great family man."
"I worked with Officer Ramos his first day he became a cop," Centa said.
Ramos, 40, was transferred to the 84 Precinct a few months before Centa was moved there as well.
"I recognized him and I said we're in a good command here," he said.
Ramos lived his whole life in Cypress Hills, was married with two teenage sons, and was described by many as a man of deep faith, which was shown in his volunteer work at the church, a pastor said.
Pastor Ralph Castillo spoke about Ramos' faith and service outside the church before his casket arrived Friday.
"Our faith informs us to weep with those who weep, and today we weep with the Ramos family, the New York City Police Department and our nation as we mourn the loss of our dear brother," he said.
Castillo said Ramos was a gift, noting his work as an usher escorting parishioners to their seats before mass.
"He did it with so much life, so much vigor, so much joy," Castillo said.
"We loved his faithfulness and the way that he served people, and we're going to miss him a great deal."
Ramos' body was on view Saturday at the church, followed by a memorial service scheduled from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., according to Janice de Castro, the communications director for the parish.
Saturday's funeral begins at 10 a.m. at the church, and all of the services will be shown on four large screens outside and streamed on its website, de Castro said. Ramos will be buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery, police officials said.
Vice President Joe Biden is expected at Saturday's funeral, the White House announced Tuesday.
Multiple streets surrounding the church at 64-34 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale will be closed to traffic both days for the wake and memorial service from 2 p.m. til 7 p.m., officials said.
Services for Liu, 32, a seven-year veteran of the NYPD, have not been announced.
Both officers were sitting in their car on Myrtle and Tompkins avenues in Bed-Stuy on Dec. 20 when gunman Ismaaaiyl Brinsley, 28, shot them to death through the car windows. Brinsley then shot and killed himself.