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Thousands attend funeral for NYPD officer

December 19, 2011 8:02:05 PM PST
By the thousands, they descended on a small church in Babylon.

It was a sea of men and women in blue, many of whom never even knew Peter Figoski, but all share in the sorrow of his loss.

"You hope to have guys retire and have that last day where you can congratulate them now that they're going on to other endeavors, and I think the hardest part about this is you never get a chance to say good bye," Nassau County Detective Jeffrey Gross said. He used to work with Officer Figoski in Brooklyn.

He was remembered as a dedicated worker - a 22-year veteran with 12 medals and more than 200 arrests - and loving father of four daughters: Carolyn, 16, and Corrine, 14, both in high school, and Christine, 20, and Caitlyn, 18, who are in college upstate.

"Christine, Caitlyn, Caroline, Corrine, as the father of daughters, I understand the bonds you share with your dad," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during the service. "How much you must miss him. Your father died a hero."

The 47-year-old was posthumously promoted to detective, first-class.

"Knowing your father was a hero, however, doesn't make it any easier these days," Bloomberg said. "Knowing your dad was revered in the NYPD doesn't make his passing less painful."

The casket holding Figoski's body was led into the small Roman Catholic church in Babylon by a processional of bag pipes and drums playing "Amazing Grace." His daughters trailed behind.

Uniformed officers from the NYPD, Suffolk, and Nassau departments, state police from New York and New Jersey, and officer from upstate New York communities lined up to pay respect. It was so crowded that some officers stood on the nearby Long Island Railroad platform.

Figoski was working midnights in the 75th Precinct in the East New York neighborhood and was responding to a report of break-in at a Brooklyn apartment Dec. 12.

He was shot once in the face and died hours later at a hospital.

Lamont Pride and four others are accused of trying to rob a marijuana dealer in the basement apartment. When they allegedly smashed in the door and began beating the dealer, the upstairs owner of the home called 911.

Figoski and his partner were providing backup to two officers questioning the victim and two suspects in the apartment when Pride and another man tried to flee, police said. During a struggle between the officer's partner and one of the suspects, Figoski came face-to-face with Pride, who police said shot him with a semiautomatic handgun before Figoski could draw his own weapon.

His partner pursued Pride on foot and captured him several blocks away, police said.

Pride is charged with first-degree murder. The other four are charged with second-degree murder.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly also paid tribute to Officer Fogski today.

"Here's an officer taken from us in the prime of his life, killed simply for doing his job He was responding to a call and never had a chance to defend himself," Kelly said.

Officers in uniform from the NYPD, Suffolk, and Nassau departments, state police and upstate New York officers lined up to pay respect. It was so crowded that some officers stood on the nearby Long Island Railroad platform.

Figoski was a decorated officer who lived for his four daughters and worked the more dangerous midnight shift so he could home for them during the day.

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