When Brian Moore joined the 105th Precinct of the NYPD in Queens, his cousin Ronald Moore, also a city officer, asked Det. Jason Caputo to look out for the young man.
Seven months later, on Saturday night, Caputo arrived at the Queens Village crime scene where Brian Moore, 25, had been shot in the head behind the wheel of a bullet-scarred unmarked car.
Last night, Caputo was among more than 1,000 people who came to Plainedge High School for a memorial vigil to remember Moore, who died Monday at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
The somber crowd filled the stands and then surrounded the field at Plainedge High, where Moore graduated in 2007 before going on to the police academy. They held candles and signs with phrases such as "God Bless NYPD," and listened to county and school officials speak. And they remembered the young man whose short life was so intertwined with policing.
"Brian had that eagerness and wanted to get police work done," Caputo said in an interview. "He seemed destined for detective. His whole family was law enforcement. It was in his genes."
Plainedge Superintendent Edward Salina said Moore's teachers knew he would be a police officer one day, following his father, uncle and cousins' law enforcement careers.
"He was a young man who wanted to make a difference in the world as a loving son and here in the New York City Police Department," Salina told the crowd.
The vigil was held adjacent to Edward Byrne Memorial Field, named for another NYPD officer who, 27 years ago, was assassinated in his patrol car. He lived down the street from the Moore family in Massapequa.
Caputo had restored a 1989 Chevy Caprice, an exact replica of the car Byrne was murdered in, and drove it to the vigil. On Monday he changed the precinct decal on the car to the 105th as a tribute to both Byrne and Moore while the unit investigates his death.
"Every day you don't know if it'll be your last," Caputo said. "You risk putting that shield on every day."
NYPD Det. Mike Cerullo, who grew up three blocks away from Brian Moore and went to high school with him, also helped him join the plainclothes anti-crime unit the young officer was working in the night he was shot.
"I helped pull him out of the car," said Cerullo, who also attended the vigil. "It was devastating seeing a guy I went to high school with looking like that."
"He was a great kid and a great friend," Cerullo said.
Two of Moore's cousins serve in the Nassau County police department.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Moore should be remembered by state officials who could change laws to keep violent parolees from being released from prison.
Said Mangano: "This serves as a reminder of how dangerous the life of a police officer is."