Half a dozen bouquets of flowers Wednesday lay on the steps of the Babylon Village home of Nassau police Officer Arthur Lopez, a veteran crime-fighter whose neighbors and colleagues continued to mourn the hero's death.
Roses, daisies, orchids and a candle circled a note with the inscription: "For every soul there is a guardian watching over it."
The gestures of sympathy came as Lopez's family and Nassau police officials finalized funeral plans. Lopez was killed Tuesday while pursuing a suspect on the Nassau and Queens border.
Uniformed officers collected his personal effects as friends and neighbors set down a bouquet and wept at the door.
"He was too young for this," said Officer Michael Leone, who was among the officers there to pick up Lopez's belongings, including the uniform in which his body will be buried.
"We don't see him as being gone," said Leone, adding that he and Lopez, 29, went through the police academy together. "He was part of a circle, and now that circle is broken."
Danielle D'Aurio, 26, of West Babylon, who said she dated Lopez for nearly two years, set a bouquet at the doorstep. "He had such a good heart," she said. "His job was everything to him, and he had so much more to live for," she said.
Nassau officers hugged members of Lopez's unit, the Emergency Services Unit, outside police headquarters after the suspect, Darrell Fuller, 33, of St. Albans, Queens, was moved there from the hospital.
"This suspect doesn't deserve to be on the same planet as Artie Lopez," unit Lt. Adam Scheiner said. "Unfortunately, the circumstances are reversed. Artie's gone and there's nothing really we can do about that, but hopefully justice will be served and this person will never get out again."
Lopez was a great friend and a committed officer, Scheiner said. "He came to us with just a few years on the job but that's how well thought of he was."
At police union headquarters, William Staker, an ESU training officer and union trustee, said the unit is "reeling" after the deaths of two officers in a week.
He added, "When you have 26 cops that leave out of one locker room, eat lunch at the same table . . . they become part of your family."
With Ellen Yan
Services for Nassau police Officer Arthur Lopez
Thursday: Wake 7-9 p.m., Merrick firehouse, 2300 Merrick Ave.
Friday: Wake 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., also at Merrick Firehouse
Saturday: Funeral at noon, St. Christopher's Church, 11 Gale Ave., Baldwin
Mail donations to:
PO Arthur Lopez Memorial Fund
c/o Nassau Police Benevolent Association
89 E. Jericho Tpke.
Mineola, NY 11501