As a standout officer with the NYPD, Randolph Holder was proud to continue a family tradition.
Holder joined the police force in 2010, following the example set by his father and grandfather, who were officers in their native Guyana.
Holder, 33, of Brooklyn, died late Tuesday at Harlem Hospital Center after a suspect shot him in the head during a foot pursuit in East Harlem.
"He should've been closing on a house in the next month in Valley Stream," his father, Randolph Holder Sr., told reporters Wednesday outside his home in Far Rockaway, Queens. "But all of those dreams went down the drain."
The father said his son was "very proud" to serve as a cop -- a career he had pursued for years.
"He put his life on the line for the people," said a cousin, Claude Sultan, 22, of Far Rockaway. "He did his job 'til the end."
Family members said the younger Holder, who wasn't married, loved his job and devoted himself to public service, making him a role model to many. While playfully filling the role of family DJ at parties, he held security jobs before making the leap to the NYPD.
Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Holder's grieving family Wednesday afternoon as local firefighters brought food in large trays.
City Councilman Donovan Richards, who represents the area, also consoled the family. "They are distraught but strong," he said. "He was the life of the family."
Holder grew up in Far Rockaway with two brothers and a sister after the family moved to the United States from Guyana when he was a child.
Relatives said Holder worked as a security guard in Manhattan office buildings and a Toys R Us in Queens before joining the department.
The officer patrolled public housing in the city, assigned to Police Service Area 5. He worked with his partner, Omar Wallace, a police spokesman said.
Holder had made 125 arrests, and been awarded a half-dozen medals for meritorious police service, the department said. Further details about the honors were not immediately available.
De Blasio said Holder had an "exemplary record" as an officer; Bratton hailed the officer as an "extraordinary individual."
In Holder's neighborhood, the Old Mill Basin section of Brooklyn, uniformed officers sat in a patrol car outside Holder's home for much of the day. Neighbors were stunned by news of his death.
"Oh my God!" gasped Dawn Lundy, 46, who didn't know Holder was an officer. She later laid a bouquet of flowers in the slain cop's driveway.
The card read: "Thank you Officer Randolph Holder for Protecting NYC. You will be missed. R.I.P."
With Anthony M. DeStefano and Ivan Pereira