Tag Archives: police officers

Candlelight vigils held around Queens for slain officers

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Communities around Queens came together, holding emotional candlelight vigils to show their respect for the two NYPD officers who were murdered last week and to express sympathy for their families.

From Ridgewood to Long island City and Jackson Heights, among other neighborhoods, residents and the men and women in blue held a moment of silence for Police Officer Rafael Ramos and Police Officer Wenjian Liu, who were both shot dead by a deranged man who traveled from Baltimore to Brooklyn with the intention of killing police officers.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in the city of New York,” said Borough President Melinda Katz, who attended the 104th Precinct’s vigil in Ridgewood. “Our prayers go out to Officer Ramos and Officer Liu.”

In Long Island City, officers at the 108th Precinct, located at 5-47 50th Ave., gathered Monday night with residents, local leaders and elected officials during a vigil for Liu and Ramos.

“We in this community are a model, a beacon of light in the darkness,” said Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct.

People filled the street in front of the precinct holding candles and joined in prayer for the fallen officers.

“Our community responds with love, remembrance and gratitude for Officers Liu and Ramos and the NYPD,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Over in Jackson Heights, instead of the holiday tree lighting ceremony at Diversity Plaza, located on 37th Road and 74th Street, a vigil was organized to honor the two police officers and also “condemn violence in any form.”

Another vigil was held in Whitestone last night as well, with local residents and officers from the 109th Precinct.

On Sunday, Dec. 21, there was a candlelight vigil in front of the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights as well.

The family of Ramos, who lived in Brooklyn, has made arrangements for his viewing ceremony on Dec. 26 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Christ Tabernacle Church, located at 64-34 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. The funeral will be on Dec. 27 at the same location at 10 a.m.

Arrangements for Liu were still pending yesterday.


Protect our protectors

| letters@queenscourier.com

The recent deaths of two Nassau County police officers once again reinforces the fact that these police officers put their lives on the line in order to protect the public every single day.

The first officer was struck and killed by a vehicle while responding to a call about an accident on the Long Island Expressway; the other was shot and killed on the Cross Island Parkway.

The public should be grateful for having such dedicated police officers; they have a very difficult job to do each and every day. Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, doctors and nurses are truly inclusive in the definition of what heroes are.

Athletes are not heroes; they do what they do because they enjoy it. They get paid way too much money, in my opinion. All of our emergency service people should be paid the maximum salary allowable for their profession, because they deserve every single dollar of it, and then some.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and colleagues of both of these brave officers. Capital punishment needs to make a comeback in our penal system; killing a police officer is a heinous crime, and those that commit such an act need to forfeit their own lives.

John Amato

Fresh Meadows


Protect our protectors

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Protect our protectors

Why is it that in only four months, eight — EIGHT — police officers have been shot in our city?

Though most have been lucky enough to escape serious injury, the fact remains that more needs to be done to protect our protectors.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that, “All the shootings have a disgraceful fact in common: all were committed with illegal guns that came from out of state. And that is the case with nearly every shooting in our city.”

So why is more not being done?

The mayor blames Congress for protecting the gun lobby over our police officers and citizens.

We agree.

Greed and self interest have no place in passing legislation.

No amount of money can bring a loved one back, and there is no way to fill the void left when someone is lost to senseless violence.

So whether it be stronger laws or stricter enforcement, there needs to be more of an effort to get illegal guns off the streets.

And though Bloomberg has made this a cornerstone of his administration, it is truly a shame that the NYPD — who work tirelessly to “protect and serve” — are not afforded better protection themselves.

We encourage you to contact your local congressmember on this very important issue:

Congressmember Gary Ackerman: 718-423-2154; Congressmember Gregory Meeks: 718-725-6000; Congressmember Joseph Crowley: 718-779-1400; Congressmember Bob Turner: 718-426-5000; Congressmember Carolyn Maloney: 718-932-1804; Congressmember Nydia Velasquez: 718-599-3658.


Act of heroism

We applaud the members of the FDNY who bravely and selflessly rescued a septuagenarian from her burning Lindenwood apartment last week.

Firefighter James Goelz, of Ladder Co. 107, was among the heroes who risked life and limb to save the woman.

But let us not forget that though this was undoubtedly an amazing rescue, it was probably just another day on the job for these firefighters.

The FDNY, like their NYPD counterparts, go out — day after day, night after night — uncertain of what they will face.

With guts, grit and determination, they make our city safe.

They allow us to live in peace, to enjoy all that our great borough and our city have to offer.

Let us reflect and remember that when we count our blessings and enjoy our freedoms, it is due in large part to these heroes.

One teen, two others shot on Jamaica Avenue

| brennison@queenscourier.com


One teenager and two 20-year-olds were shot on Jamaica Avenue in what was according to witnesses, likely gang-related activity.

The shootings took place outside a Jamaica Avenue Wendy’s this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. Two victims were shot in the leg, with one taking a bullet to the arm.

The victims were a 17-year-old black male and two 20-year-old Hispanic males, according to police.

Published reports indicate that the victims were members of the gang MS-13.

All three were taken to Jamaica Hospital and are listed in stable condition.

Jamaica Avenue was closed down between Queens Boulevard and 139th Street as dozens of police officers canvassed the area.

There are no descriptions of the suspects, police said.

Students from nearby M.S. 217 said they saw one victim with a gunshot wound to the left arm on their way home from school. The teens said that while gang activity is an issue in the area it had not escalated to gun violence before.

Jack Sharma, who lives one block away from the shooting, bemoaned teenager’s lack of respect for life.

“Kids don’t value life,” Sharma said. “It’s bad for my neighborhood.”

Sharma’s 16-year-old daughter saw the shooting’s aftermath as she picked up her brother and sister from school.

“This neighborhood is quiet,” Sharma said. “I did not expect this. It’s too close to home.”


Arrest made in attempted shooting of officers

| tcimino@queenscourier.com

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of  Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of  Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens.

“Our officers miraculously escaped injury when their assailant fired at extremely close range, narrowly missing them,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Olmeda’s arrest was bittersweet in that it came this morning as the family of Police Officer Peter Figoski prepared for his funeral.”

On Friday, December 2 at 3:55 p.m., two 115th precinct uniformed officers were patrolling on foot in the vicinity of 76th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights when they were alerted by a passerby of a male acting suspiciously at the corner of 37th Road and 76th Street.

The officers walked to the location and observed the male wearing a  black trench coat with a fake beard, a hat and dark glasses.

When the officers approached the individual, they asked him for identification at which time the male produced a revolver and fired twice at the officers, before fleeing southbound on 77th Street.

The officers pursued the man, but they were unable to apprehend him.  The fake beard, hat and glasses were recovered during the foot pursuit. No injuries were sustained by either officer.

NYPD detectives were able to link DNA found on the suspects glasses recovered at the crime scene to Olmeda. Police also identified a 2001 Blue Chevy Venture van registered to Antonio Olmeda.  A license plate check of the vehicle revealed a summons was  issued to Olmeda’s Chevy Venture this past August in the 25th Precinct.

Earlier this morning Inspector Stephen Hughes, the Commanding Officer of the NYPD Warrant Section, was canvassing in the 25 Precinct near the location of where a summons was issued to Olmeda’s vehicle in August.

At 4 a.m. today, Inspector Hughes observed a van located in front of 323 East 116th Street matching the plates and description of Olmeda’s van.

An NYPD apprehension team established surveillance near the van and at approximately 8 a.m. observed Olmeda walking up and down 116th Street.  The apprehension team waited until Olmeda attempted to enter the vehicle. At that point NYPD detectives grabbed Olmeda and took him into custody.

Olmeda had on his person a gun belt with a loaded, 45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and two magazines each containing seven rounds.

A second gun, a snub-nosed .38 caliber revolver, with three expended shell casings in its cylinder, was found in a bag on the back seat of the vehicle.

ESU and the Bomb Squad were summoned to the scene after a suspicious package with wires protruding was observed. The Bomb Squad determined that the wires were attached to a police light package and siren under the vehicle’s dashboard.

A counterfeit NYPD parking plaque was also found in the van, along with a plastic bin filled with approximately two dozen bottles of what appeared to be cleaning chemicals.

Olmeda was taken into Federal custody in 2002 after allegedly carrying bomb-making materials and asking about security at Fort Bragg.

After Olmeda’s arrest in the Bronx in 1994 for patronizing a prostitute, a search of his vehicle then uncovered 25 explosive devices, ammunition, and an Uzi submachine gun.

Charges in the December 2, 2011 shooting are pending.