Fundraising drive for slain cops’ families draws support

January 6, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Thousands of police officers turned out to pay tribute to Det. Wenjian Liu at his funeral. AP Photo/John Minchillo
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Efforts to provide financial assistance to the families of slain police detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos are bearing fruit.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which announced that it would seek to raise $800,000 to pay off the mortgages of the detectives’ homes, attained its goal on Wednesday, according to an Associated Press report. The foundation raised $860,000 with another $15,000 pledged, the AP said.

The foundation was named in memory of New York City Firefighter Stephen Siller, who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. Siller had run from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (now the Hugh Carey Tunnel) to the World Trade Center in an effort to help at the scene of the terror attack.

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Ramos lived in Glendale, Queens, with his wife Maritza and their sons, Justin, 19, and Jaden, 13. Liu lived in Gravesend with his wife Pei Xia Chen. The couple was married for only two months when Liu was murdered.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC has started a Fallen Heroes Relief Effort to support the families of Ramos and Liu, the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, announced in an email to supporters of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We lost two of New York’s Finest, Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, to an act of abhorrent violence,” McCray wrote in the email. 

She urged New Yorkers to visit to find out how to make donations.

The funeral of Det. Liu took place Sunday at Aievoli Funeral Home on 65th Street in Dyker Heights. It was estimated that at least 20,000 police officers from the New York Police Department and from all over the country attended the funeral.

The funeral for Ramos was held a week earlier in Queens.

The two men were shot in an ambush by gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley in Bed-Stuy on Dec. 20. The victims were sitting in their patrol car at the time. Brinsley fled to a subway station and shot himself to death.

Assemblyman Bill Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst), who attended Liu’s funeral, said it was a deeply emotional experience. “It was very sad,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday. “The families of these two officers represent the best of this city. They are hardworking people.” 

Liu and Ramos were both posthumously promoted to the rank of detective.

The two men should receive national recognition, according to Colton. “I would like to see the Congressional Gold Medal for these two police officers. It’s our nation’s highest honor and these two officers deserve it,” he said.

The Congressional Gold Medal was established during the American Revolution, according to the House of Representatives website. George Washington was the first recipient in 1776.

Past recipients have included Ulysses S. Grant (1863), Orville and Wilbur Wright (1909) Thomas Edison (1928) and Frank Sinatra (1997).

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