Hundreds of mourners stood in a line that flowed outside the Merrick firehouse and down the street Thursday, as they awaited their turn to attend the wake of Nassau police Officer Arthur Lopez, shot and killed Tuesday in the line of duty.
Lt. Adam Scheiner, commanding officer of the Emergency Services Unit, of which Lopez, at 29, was the youngest member, said he was "floored" by the outpouring of sympathy. But then, looking at the hundreds of uniformed officers waiting to pay their respects, added, "Anybody in law enforcement will tell you we are brothers."
Lopez, of Babylon Village, was killed when he approached the vehicle of a man he had been chasing and was shot in the chest, police said, by Darrell S. Fuller, 33, of St. Albans, Queens. Fuller was also charged with the killing of motorist Raymond Facey, 58.
The wake at the Merrick firehouse, draped in black and purple mourning bunting, was but one of several memorial events for the officer. A wake limited to family and friends was held during the day, and a formal police department wake was scheduled for Friday at the Merrick firehouse.
Lopez was the second Nassau officer killed in the line of duty in less than a week.
Just by becoming an Emergency Services Unit officer at such a young age, Lopez proved himself to be exceptional, colleagues said.
Nassau Det. Vincent Garcia said, "We have a saying. When the public needs help, they call police. When we need help, we call Emergency Services."
Scheiner, who selected Lopez for the elite unit, said that although he was younger than many other potential candidates for the 26-person unit, "Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough. Every supervisor that I spoke to said, 'This is the guy you want to get.' Sometimes you don't have the experience in years, but you have the experience in heart. I wish every member of every police department had the work ethics of Artie."
SERVICES FOR NASSAU OFFICER ARTHUR LOPEZ
St. Christopher's Church
11 Gale Ave., Baldwin
2300 Merrick Ave.
Friday: 2-4 p.m., 7-9 p.m.
PO Arthur Lopez Memorial Fund
c/o Nassau Police Benevolent Association