The visibly distraught sister of slain Nassau Police Officer Arthur Lopez was supported on either side Friday night when she exited the Merrick firehouse shortly before the formal start of her brother's wake.
The firehouse viewing area accommodated only about 150 people, police said, so more than 2,000 others, mostly Nassau police officers and officers from other departments, waited outside in formation for their opportunity to enter the firehouse and pass the casket.
Lopez's sister, Charo, moved up and down the rows of uniformed officers, thanking them for coming.
"Wow!" said one Nassau officer. "We're supposed to be here to support her. But look at her!"
Officer Rick Cabellero of the Chicago Police Department was there with another Chicago cop. "We're here to support our fallen brother," he said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a brief visit to the firehouse in the afternoon.
James Carver, president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, told reporters that Bloomberg had spoken "very nice words" to the Lopez family, and thanked them for the officer's public service.
"He was a real deal, this guy," said Carver of Lopez, of Babylon Village. "He lived and breathed being a cop."
Carver said the firehouse was filled with flowers and photos of Lopez, who served with the Emergency Services Unit.
Meanwhile, the Queens parolee accused of slaying Lopez near a gas station just inside the Nassau County border with Queens has been moved to Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan, the city correction department said Friday.
Darrell Fuller, 33, is facing first-degree murder charges after allegedly gunning down Lopez, 29, and then fatally shooting Raymond Facey, 58, of Brooklyn, as Fuller fled the first shooting scene at midday Tuesday.
Fuller was ordered held without bail after being arraigned Thursday on two counts of first-degree murder, as well as robbery and weapons charges. After his arraignment, he was transferred to the city jail system. Nassau officials said such a transfer was common when the inmate was accused of attacking a law enforcement officer.
Nassau police said Friday night that Fuller has been hospitalized for dialysis treatment.
At his arraignment, Judge Christopher Quinn had asked Fuller whether he was employed and Fuller told him: "It's been a while. I am disabled." Those were the only words spoken by Fuller, who was not required to enter a plea.
After killing Lopez and Facey, Fuller fled, then shot himself in an attempt to make it look like he was an "innocent victim," Assistant District Attorney Mitchell Benson said Thursday.
Fuller was on parole in a 2005 attempted murder conviction for shooting another man during a dispute over a parking spot. Fuller violated parole in 2010 when he was arrested on felony drug sale and possession charges. He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 1 year in jail and was released last year.
With William Murphy
and Bill Mason
For the service for Nassau police Officer Arthur Lopez, Merrick Road in Merrick will be closed in both directions between Harrison Avenue and Charing Cross Road from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition motorists can expect delays in the areas surrounding St. Christopher's Roman Catholic Church, 11 Gale Ave., Baldwin