More than 100 New York Police Department officials arrived in Guyana late Thursday for the funeral of murdered officer Randolph Holder.
Holder, a native of Guyana who migrated with his parents to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, was killed on Oct. 20 after being shot in Manhattan’s East Harlem District as he and his partner had been chasing a man while responding to a call of shots fired in the neighborhood.
Relatives and dozens of NYPD officers who lined up in formation on the tarmac of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport shed tears under a humid night sky as a colleague officers slow marched with the body from the Fly Jamaica Airways plane to a waiting hearse which took his remains to the city.
Some of his locally based relatives including his octogenarian grandmother Elizabeth Lovell broke down in tears, wailed and hugged each other as NYPD pall bearers slowly placed the casket in the waiting hearse.
A wake is planned for an open area near the presidential compound for Friday night and funeral services are set for the main Catholic Cathedral in the city early Saturday.
Officials said President David Granger will likely attend the service. Holder is to be buried in the sprawling Le Repinter cemetery later in the day even as City officials scrambled to spruce it up for Saturday’s interment.
“We are overwhelmed by the love and support shown to us by people both in the US and Guyana. They have been very kind and supportive,” Randolph Holder Snr told this publication as local police ushered him away as the body was taken off the aircraft.
Guyana-born Captain Rhonda O’Riley Bovell, a NYPD 20-year veteran, said the flight, the arrival in Guyana and the airport ceremonies “were so emotional. We are his family and will always be supportive but I must tell you that officers are hurting, they are hurting real bad but doing their best to stay strong. We are here for the family.”
She said that about 60 of the “100 plus officers and city officials who are here” are Guyana-born natives like she is and wasted no time taking advantage of discounted tickets from the upstart Jamaica-based carrier.
The suspect, 30-year-old Tyrone Howard, has been charged with murder and robbery. A grand jury has already indicted him, but the charges won’t be formally announced until just before Thanksgiving with a state Supreme Court arraignment on Nov. 24. His attorney has said there are missing details in the case.
The slain cop had joined the NYPD in 2010 to continue a tradition of male members of his family as both his father and grandfather had served in the Guyanese Police Force back in the 60s and 70s.
Dozens of members of the Brooklyn, New York-based Ex-Guyana Police Force members also flew in for the final rites as well as representatives of Guyanese diaspora organizations in New York.