Hundreds of car enthusiasts paid tribute to two fallen NYPD officers, driving their classic and exotic vehicles from Nassau to Queens Sunday morning.
"The NYPD supports us so we need to support them," said April Affenita, 28, of Happauge, who rode in a black GTR Nissan. "It's a shame. Murders don't solve anything."
The Long Island Exotic Club sponsored the Run for the Blue event that features roughly 600 vehicles, including Corvettes, Lamborghinis, trucks and BMWs, all of which bore blue ribbons in honor of the officers. The event was also a fundraiser and there was a $25 donation and entry fee for all vehicles. which will go toward the families of the fallen officers, organizers said.
The procession left the Exotic Classics building in Syosset, going down Jericho Turnpike, and ending at Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows, Queens, where there was a ceremony with a color guard and bagpipes, according to organizers.
Officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Officer Wenjian Liu, 32, were gunned down in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn on Dec. 20 by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, who then shot himself to death in a nearby subway station. Brinsley had earlier shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore County, Maryland, and posted threats against police on social media, law enforcement officials said. Ramos and Liu were posthumously promoted to the rank of first-grade detective.
The exotic car procession featured a dozen auto clubs from the tri-state area, organizers said.
"The loss of two NYPD officers struck us particularly hard. We decided to put together what we deemed the procession of respect," said organizer Bobby Sands, president of the Long Island Exotics Club.
"The car community is made up of a cross section of America. This is about supporting those that are out every day and night for us."
Retired NYPD auto-crime officer Joe Deleon, 46, drove his Skyline GTR 33, which was imported from Japan and has a steering wheel on the right side of the car, in the motorcade.
"We would like to give back to the officers," said Deleon, who retired in 2012. "I'm reflecting on how those officers gave their lives for the city."
Leo Mirzo, 25, representing United Speed Association, made the trip from Old Tappan in northern New Jersey with his 430 black Ferrari.
"I'm here for charity. I love cars and I have the officers on my mind," he said.
At the city park in Queens, Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association for the NYPD, thanked the audience, including the drivers, saying, "Today is a day where we celebrate New York City police officers, but with some sadness."