Commissioner William Bratton, NYPD: Good evening. Thank you for being here. I’m going to make some remarks. The mayor, Mayor de Blasio, will then make, also, additional remarks. And then Pat Lynch, the president of the PBA, will make remarks also.
Tonight, I regret to inform you that New York City Police Officer Randolph Holder, 33 years of age, Badge Number 13340, a five-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, was killed in the line of duty – murdered. He was pronounced dead at 10:22 this evening in this hospital.
He is the fourth New York City police officer murdered in this city in the last 11 months.
Tonight, as so many of our officers always do, he and his partners were responding to gunshot calls. And around 8:30 pm, he and officers assigned to the Housing Bureau PSA 5 were responding to shots being fired in the vicinity of East 102nd Street and First Avenue in the East Harlem area of Manhattan. This is an area covered by PSA 5.
Witnesses reported that several males had fled along the footpath heading north on the FDR Drive. That’s the footpath adjacent to the river. Responding officers were informed by a male victim that his bike had been stolen at gunpoint by one of the individuals, the suspects.
Officers from the Housing Bureau Ant-Crime Unit in plainclothes encountered a male on a bicycle northbound at East 120th Street along the FDR Drive – that’s a pedestrian overpass over the FDR Drive.
There was an exchange of gunfire between the male suspect and the two officers. During this exchange, Officer Holder was struck in the head.
The suspect continued to run north along the FDR Drive promenade on foot. He was apprehended at 124th Street by responding officers. He had suffered gunshot wounds to his leg. He was taken into custody and transported to Cornell Medical Center, where I understand he will be released later this morning and certainly taken into custody by us.
Three other males were taken into custody in the vicinity of East 111th Street and the FDR Drive. They are being questioned now as to their possible participation in the events of this evening.
Officer Holder was taken here to Harlem Hospital in critical condition, and, as I indicated earlier, was pronounced at 10:22 pm.
Officer Holder was appointed to the department in July of 2010. He was 33 years of age, unmarried. His family is here. His father, also Randolph Holder, is a native of Guyana, as is Randolph. Randolph is an immigrant to this country – joined the New York City Police Department after moving here. His father was a police officer in Guyana, and his grandfather was also a police officer in Guyana. So three generations of police in this family, and now the latest generation served here with us in the New York City Police Department, and tonight did what every other officer in the NYPD does when the call comes – he ran toward danger. It was the last time he will respond to that call.
And on behalf of the 35,000 men and women of this department – police officers – and our 17,000 civilians, I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and especially to his father, who in his time of grief sought to comfort the officers from PSA 5. He was strong enough and brave enough to go in and address them. As they tried to comfort him, he, in fact, was comforting them – an extraordinary individual, and I can understand his son and the bravery his son exhibited tonight rushing toward danger and giving his life for the citizens of New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, Commissioner. We – we’re all in mourning tonight. This whole city is in mourning.
We’re mourning a man who gave his life as a guardian for all of us. And we’re humbled by Officer Randolph Holder’s example – an example of service and courage and sacrifice.
Our hearts are heavy, and we offer our thoughts and our prayers to his family, who are experiencing unimaginable pain, as we saw earlier when we gathered with them.
Our thoughts and prayers are also with his fellow officers from PSA 5 and his larger NYPD family.
In the midst of all this sorrow, we have to commend the medical staff and thank the medical staff and all of the employees here at Harlem Hospital who did everything they could to try to save Officer Holder.
And I thank all the community leaders, the elected officials, all the NYPD leadership – everyone who came here in solidarity with this officer and his family. I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Tish James, Council Public Safety Chair Vanessa Gibson, and everyone who came here tonight.
This sadness is so hard to describe, what everyone is going through, and we’re fighting to understand the loss of a man who did so much, cared so much, dedicated his life to protecting others; as you heard from the commissioner, an immigrant who wanted to give back to his city and his country, and who had an exemplary record as a police officer, who did everything the right way.
We honor the memory of Officer Holder, a man who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, gave the last full measure of his devotion on behalf of the city he loved.
Commissioner Bratton: Pat Lynch, president of the PBA.
Pat Lynch, President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association: I just had the unfortunate responsibility to tell a father his son is not coming home today. A father that understands what it is to wear a uniform – and he knows what it means. That emptiness will never go away for him.
New York City police officers, every day, go out and carry themselves like superheroes on the street. But the reality is, when we’re attacked we bleed, when we bleed we die, and when we die we cry.
We need your support. We need your support. These police officers need your support as we bury our brother police officer.
But it can’t end there. We need your support every day, on every corner, in every neighborhood, so we can continue to carry ourselves like superheroes. So we can save you and protect you.
We ask you tonight, when you all go home, and the people out in our neighborhoods, before you lay your head down, please say a prayer. Say a prayer that that family can get through this terrible emptiness they’ll always have.
Unknown: We have time to take a few questions – it’s very early in the investigation, but we’ll take a few questions.
Anybody? Okay. Thank you, all.
Commissioner Bratton: Thank you very much.
Question: Quick question for you – [inaudible]?
Commissioner Bratton: Certainly. Four police officers murdered in 11 months – that’s about as bad as it gets. That – we lost six in the line of duty, but four murdered in the line of duty.
Commissioner Bratton: We won’t speak to any of that – that investigation is very active at this time. We’ll have more availabilities and give you more details in the morning. The investigation will continue through the evening. We’ll try to the best of our ability to give you more details as we learn them. But, for now, we believe we have the suspect involved in the murder of our officer in custody, and we are continuing to gather evidence and continuing to seek witnesses. And if there are witnesses that might help us on this, we would ask that they contact us and provide that information. But the area will remain a very active crime scene. It covers a very large distance – the initial incident occurred on 102nd Street and the murder of the officer occurred many blocks away on FDR Drive. So, we ask that the residents of the neighborhood bear with us as we try to put it together this evening exact what transpired here this evening.
Commissioner Bratton: I think all of us will tell you that this is the hardest thing that we do – when we mourn one of our own. I’ve been doing it for 45 years – it doesn’t get easier. It never gets easier – and it should never get easier.
Commissioner Bratton: Those details that we won’t be able to talk about at this time – we’re still trying to piece it together. The shooting situation at 102nd Street, that was the precipitating incident. There may have been several firearms involved in that incident. So we’re still trying to piece together all the parts of this very large crime scene and the number of people that we’re going to have to question and deal with.
Commissioner Bratton: We’ll work with the District Attorney on that. We hope that he will be released later this morning, at which time, we will take him into custody, into a police facility. But we will work with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to determine the specific charges on this matter.
Stephen Davis, NYPD: Thank you all.
Commissioner Bratton: Thank you all for attending this evening.
(YWN Desk – NYC)