Since Brian Moore was fatally shot May 4 while on patrol in Queens Village, residents of the tight-knit Plainedge neighborhood -- where he lived his entire life -- have mobilized to ensure his life is remembered beyond the roster of the fallen.
In response to requests for a local tribute, officials from the Town of Oyster Bay and Plainedge Union Free School District announced Saturday they would name an athletic center at Plainedge Park after Moore and erect a statue honoring the slain officer, who was posthumously promoted to detective. Moore played baseball and basketball at the park and attended the now-demolished middle school that sat on the site.
On Saturday at the park, several hundred attended a formal launching ceremony for an annual Brian Moore baseball tournament that will raise scholarships for graduates of Moore's alma mater, Plainedge High.
Moore's father, retired NYPD Sgt. Ray Moore, 57, was moved by the tributes -- and comforted that local children will grow up knowing what his son meant to the community.
"When I'm gone, his legacy will go on for years and years, and he'll always be remembered," Moore said. "I really feel touched by that."
Dozens of officers from Brian Moore's 105th Precinct in Queens, many wearing T-shirts emblazoned with his badge number and "Legends Never Die," attended Saturday's ceremony.
Town Supervisor John Venditto told the crowd the outpouring of grief and the push to honor Moore stemmed from his character and how he had played in the same parks and streets that they had. "This was very personal," he said.
Moore's mother, Irene Moore, 57, of Islip, said the park is ideal for tributes because he spent so much of his childhood there. "People who knew him can go there rather than the cemetery and talk to him," she said. "They know his spirit is there, because it's been there for many, many years."
Moore said she is "beyond grateful for what the community is doing."
Ray Moore said support from Plainedge residents has helped him get through the loss of a son he described as his "best friend."
It's one reason Moore may stay in the house where they both grew up. "It feels like if I get rid of it, I can get away from it a little bit," Moore said. "But also if I get rid of it, I'm getting rid of him, too."
The two traveled together and had tickets to see their beloved Baltimore Orioles play the Mets at Citi Field on May 5 -- the day after Brian died.
Ray Moore recalled cleaning out his son's precinct locker and seeing taped to the back a photo of the two at an Orioles game. "I'm saying to myself, 'What kind of kid does that?' " Moore said, his voice breaking, tears welling in his eyes.
The baseball tournament, which ends Sunday, features about 40 teams of children ages 8 to 12 from Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties.
The separate push for physical memorials to Moore came from numerous Plainedge residents, including Joe Karam, president of the Plainedge Soccer Club. "Everyone wanted to do something special," Karam said. "Everyone realized this would be meaningful to the parents and meaningful to everyone in the community."
Town officials quickly endorsed the idea, said Andrew Rothstein, director of operations for Oyster Bay. "You look at our young people who are starved for role models," he said. "I can't think of a better role model than Brian Moore."
Rothstein, Venditto and schools Superintendent Edward Salina will continue to consult with Moore's parents on the design and placement of the statue, Rothstein said.
It will be a "general likeness" of Moore with his badge number and name tag and a plaque honoring him. "It is dedicated to Brian, but it also symbolizes all the police officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice," Rothstein said.
Venditto said he would support the town chipping in to make up the difference should private fundraising for the statue fall short.
Irene Moore said her son would appreciate the neighborhood's effort to preserve his memory. "One of his favorite words was 'awesome,' " she said. "And he'd say, 'This is awesome.' "