Here we go again.
Pained, disheartened and grieving, the Caribbean community is once again mourning the loss of a devoted and favorite son.
That Randolph Holder migrated from Guyana to live, work and raise a child in New York City is a footnote to his 33 years and the fact he joined the NYPD to serve adds another supplement to the tragic loss of a citizen of worth.
The higher addendum is that the entire Caribbean is grieving his senseless death.
Reportedly, PO Holder and partner Omar Wallace were in plainclothes, searching for an armed man on a stolen bicycle following a shootout near the East River Houses, when they encountered Tyrone “Peanut”Howard on a bike on the waterfront promenade.
Without warning, Howard allegedly shot the officer in the head.
Breaking news revealed that PO Holder, 33, was shot in the forehead by the coldhearted gunman, who had stolen a bike and was being pursued by cops along the promenade near the East River.
PO Wallace returned fire, hitting his target in the rear.
The cop said at that point Howard ditched the bike and fled on foot.
Ultimately he was apprehended.
Later reports from the NYPD claim that gangs got into a dispute in front of a parking garage at 445 East 102nd Street and that is where shots were fired.
Police recovered a .40-caliber Glock handgun from the Harlem River that they believe Howard discarded while making his getaway after shooting PO Holder.
Certainly his death impacts on the entire community but it cannot be understated that just last month, as millions prepared to bring in the dawn of Sept. 7, a deranged gunman claimed the life of Carey Gabay, a Jamaican-American aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
At that time, shots were fired in the pre-dawn J’Ouvert revelry that annually ushers in the biggest Caribbean party on the eve of Labor Day.
According to the NYPD, the bullet intended for someone else, struck the 43-year-old first deputy counsel to the NYS governor in the back of his head as he tried to take cover in front of 1680 Bedford Ave. in East New York, Brooklyn.
Twenty-seven shell casings from five handguns, including 9-mms, were recovered at the scene.
The tragedy practically immobilized revelers.
Blame for the deaths were readily cast on a number of issues. Gangs, revenge against police brutality, a faulty criminal justice system and bad calls from the judiciary justified the politics associated with accountability for belated action.
An outraged Mayor Bill deBlasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton blasted the court program that freed the drug addicted — PCP-abuser — and a 16-year criminal perpetrator — for the murder of PO Holder.
Together they agreed it was the fact Howard eluded a six-term prison sentence when a Manhattan judge decided he could go free and the fact he had repeatedly eluded arrests as the cause of the heinous crime.
“The perpetrator involved here was obviously a hardened and violent criminal,” Mayor de Blasio said.
“He should not have been on the streets.”
“We know from the evidence recovered at the scene that there were at least three firearms that were fired,” a police spokesman said.
But the elephant in the room is the fact in both instances guns were used to snuff the life out of two vibrant citizens.
Politics prevent the powers from condemning the free and easy access of guns to the mentally ill, gang-members and any individual willing to bear arms.
That almost one year ago, two NYPD officers were ambushed in Brooklyn should still resonate with gun-loving Americans who will not concede to gun control.
It is a right.
The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows American citizens to “keep and bear arms.”
And while that philosophy justified the cause for a militia against the British centuries ago, in the 21st century it is probably the reason the USA leads the rest of the world in gun-related deaths.
It is senseless to condone a practice that throughout the years have found children, students, psychiatric patients, felons, and haters gunning for revenge, attention and at times for no good reason.
Gabay was the son of Jamaican immigrants.
He grew up in the Bronx and attended and graduated with an undergraduate and a law degree from Harvard University.
He later went on to a distinguished career as a lawyer in private practice and well-respected public servant.
Gabay served as assistant counsel to the governor until 2011 and prior to that time worked as a banking and finance associate at Jones Day law firm from 2007 to 2009.
He was married to Trinidadian Trenelle Gabay.
The slain officer’s father, Randolph Neil Holder Sr. visited Harlem Hospital where his son struggled to stay alive.
According to Bratton, despite his grief, the former Guyana policeman consoled his son’s fellow officers.
A third generation police officer, PO Holder’s father explained that his son “always wanted to be a cop.”
“He should have been closing on a house next month in Valley Stream, but all of the dreams went down the drain, he always wanted to be a policeman.”
“That he did.
“He delivered his duties diligently. With pride,” Bratton added.
A cousin, 18-year-old Damani Adams, reflected on how thrilled the family was when Holder Jr. graduated with the Police Academy’s Class of 2010.
Another relative, Ruth Lawrence, said the five-year NYPD veteran, was poised to move up in the department ranks.
“He said he was going to be a detective,” Lawrence, 54 said.
“He was just waiting for the call.”
“We’re all in mourning tonight. This whole city is in mourning,” Mayor de Blasio said. “We’re mourning a man that gave his life as a guardian for all of us.
“We are humbled by Officer Randolph Holder’s example of service and courage and sacrifice. Our hearts are heavy. We offer our thoughts and our prayers to his family who are experiencing unimaginable pain as we saw earlier when we gathered with them,” the mayor said.
Human rights activist Al Sharpton paid tribute to PO Holder during his weekly rally at the National Action Network and was asked by Holder’s family to eulogize the slain immigrant.
“When we find a police officer that’s trying to protect us and serve our community and actually puts their lives on the line to do that, we stand up for those police officers,” he said.
After first agreeing to perform the rites, at the 11th hour on Tuesday he notified the family and their pastor Rev. Les Mullings, pastor of the Far rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene who had invited him to speak that he would decline the offer.
Reportedly, some union leaders were critical of Sharpton’s invitation. Citing Sharpton’s “divisiveness” that often foment alienation between the NYPD and the Black community in particular, controversy brewed since announcement of his role at the funeral service in Queens.
“It is clear though after reading several articles that some union leaders and some others want to turn you and your pastor’s noble efforts into some kind of confrontation or sideshow and not keep focused on the brutal, senseless murder of your son,” he wrote to the family.
“I refuse, despite my strong feelings on police issues, to be part of anything that would marginalize and take away from the focus of this city and nation mourning your son tomorrow.”
Further explanation of his decision read: “I thought my coming might give a sense of unity in the city; that we can disagree on cases and on policies but that we are united that the senseless and ruthless killing of officers like your son must be denounced and we must as a city come together and mourn that loss. I thought you and your pastor’s idea that both of you expressed to me on Saturday showed the height of moral leadership because you cannot heal if you are selective on those that you allow to be in the discussion.”
Allegedly the activist/preacher/TV talk-show host will donate $5,000 to defer funeral costs.
To those confused that the activist and outspoken critic against police brutality was asked by Holder’s family-members to eulogize the police officer, Sharpton said: “We are not anti-police. We are anti-police-brutality.”
“May God bless you and your family and may the city remember a good cop on tomorrow, who put his life on the line for us, and we owe him our gratitude, not some sideshow,” Sharpton wrote.
“We will not stop in the relentless pursuit of the violent few,” Mayor deBlasio added.
That may be a sincere desire.
However, not until the sale of guns become as tedious a task as becoming a police officer, grief, pain and sadness will forever plague the most undeserving of citizens.
Guyana will be the final resting place of the dedicated NYPD officer.
Catch You On The Inside!