Officer Arthur Lopez posthumously promoted to detective
The parents of Nassau police Officer Arthur Lopez, who was shot to death last week in the line of duty, were presented with their son's detective shield at his funeral Saturday in Baldwin -- in honor of his posthumous promotion.
The parents, Alfonso and Mirella Lopez, of Flushing, Queens, also received the shield he was wearing when he was killed; a Medal of Valor -- the department's highest honor -- and Lopez's handcuffs, which were used on the Queens ex-con who allegedly shot him.
Among the thousands of mourners Saturday at St. Christopher's Church was Lopez's partner, Clarence Hudson, 51. On Tuesday morning, Lopez, 29, of Babylon Village, and Hudson had followed a Honda that looked like it had just been involved in a hit-and-run near the Nassau-Queens border. Lopez was shot in the chest when he approached the vehicle.
As Lopez lay dying in the street, Hudson fought to revive him.
Hudson's brothers in blue Saturday hugged him at the funeral where he stood teary eyed, saluting his fallen partner.
Their boss, the Emergency Service Unit commander, Lt. Adam Scheiner, also fought back tears as he eulogized Lopez as a loyal, hardworking cop, a prankster with a megawatt smile.
"He was like a sparking electric wire, totally out of control, and just enthusiastic," Scheiner said, recalling how Lopez came to the unit with top-notch recommendations.
He said Lopez didn't disappoint.
"Whenever you needed him, he would come right in. We could always count on Artie to drop what he was doing and come to serve the residents of Nassau County," Scheiner said.
"Artie, you left us way too soon -- way too soon. I hope that your infectious smile and the enthusiasm for the job will carry on in all of us."
The two-hour service unfolded in the tradition-bound choreography of funerals that honor police officers killed in the line of duty: flag-draped coffin, the playing of "Taps," bagpipes, white-gloved salutes, a helicopter flyby, and a sea of blue as far as the eye could see.
Just a day before he was slain, Lopez had mourned at the funeral of another Nassau policeman killed on duty -- Joseph Olivieri, who was struck Oct. 18 by a vehicle during a crash investigation on the Long Island Expressway.
The family of Raymond Facey -- the Brooklyn man who was killed in a carjacking minutes after Lopez was shot, allegedly by the same shooter -- sat in the pews Saturday for Lopez's funeral. Police Commissioner Thomas Dale announced that the Nassau police foundation would help with Facey's funeral costs. Details of Facey's funeral haven't been announced.
The Mass for Lopez was at St. Christopher's in Baldwin because though neither he nor his family worshipped there -- he lived in Suffolk County and his parents in Queens -- the church is in the jurisdiction of the First Precinct, Lopez's first assignment after the police academy.
"Mr. and Mrs. Lopez, we want to help console you and at the same time thank you for sharing your son . . . with the Nassau County Police Department," Dale said.
Though most of the mourners were thousands of uniformed police officers -- fellow Nassau cops, officers from Suffolk, Hempstead, Fort Lee, Yonkers, Norwalk, the Amtrak force and beyond -- the service also attracted ordinary citizens such as Rosemarie Rowley and Anne Barker.
"I came to respect a hero because he's a hero, and he deserves the respect because he laid down his life to protect us," Rowley said. "That's what heroes do."
With Robert Brodsky