By Jon Cronin, Editor
The city’s Police Department and the family of Detective Randolph Holder, a police officer who was killed two years ago in the line of duty, celebrated his memory with a street renaming in the Rockaways on Friday.
Holder, who was promoted to detective posthumously, died in the line of duty on Oct. 15, 2015 while responding to a robbery near E. 120th Street and FDR Drive in East Harlem. Police said that Holder was chasing the suspect in a bicycle theft when the thief turned and shot Holder in the head. Holder later died at Harlem Hospital. The suspect, who was also shot, was transported to another hospital and taken into police custody.
Following a rainy morning, the clouds parted, allowing for the street renaming at the corner of Collier Avenue and Briar Place in Far Rockaway.
“We all remember the pain we felt after the loss of Officer Holder—now Detective Holder,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the renaming. “ But now look around you, it is a sunny and beautiful day which invokes what we celebrate about his life.”
older’s father and grandfather were the inspiration that led him to join the NYPD. Both were police officers in Holder’s native Guyana. The mayor said that Holder’s father, Randolph Holder Sr., opened himself up to his son’s fellow officers following the detective’s death.
“You have so been so kind, so generous to members of the NYPD who have felt loss—not only the loss of your son, but losses since and you didn’t have to,” the mayor said. “You went out of your way. You obviously taught your son well. He was disciplined and focused. He was everything we could have hoped for, for every family.”
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said that the renamed street would remind future generations of Holder’s sacrifice.
“Through the years, some young person may look up at the sign and know what a brave young man he was and it will help them remember why people become police officers,” he said. “The city doesn’t transform itself. Officers need to know the work they do makes such a huge difference.”
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito (D-Manhattan) stopped by to thank the Holder family. She said that she lives in the district that he protected.
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said that the renamed sign “will never replace his humble demeanor, his laughter or his love for calypso music.” Richards, who has a young son, said that he could not imagine losing him.
“They are supposed to bury us,” he said.
Richards said he believes that Holder epitomized the NYPD principles of “courtesy, professionalism and respect.”
“May we all continue to do it the Randolph Holder, Jr. way,” he concluded.
The detective’s father received a standing ovation when he took the podium.
“My son was a peaceful guy, officer and a gentleman,” the soft spoken Guyanese native said. “He died doing what he did best. When everyone was asleep, my son was out there protecting us along with the rest of the NYPD. Today is special, anytime anyone drives walks or rides by, they will look up and see the name of a very good person sitting right there.”
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.