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The son of a New York City Police Department officer gunned down in an ambush killing in Brooklyn on Saturday said his father was a "hero" and thanked those who have supported the family during its time of need.

"Knowing that my father was a universally loved man has made the healing process just a bit easier for our family," Justin Ramos said Wednesday, four days after his father, Rafael Ramos, was killed. "My father was an incredible man. He was a hero to (brother) Jaden and me. He was an incredible husband to my mother, and he was a really dedicated officer. He truly cared about the people of New York City."

"He was the embodiment of compassion and care, and we’re all truly blessed to have him be a part of our lives," Justin Ramos said. "I’m going miss his loving presence, and I can’t even begin to fathom what life’s going to be like without him."

The late Ramos, a married father who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, was one hour away from graduating from a volunteer chaplain program when he and fellow officer Wenjian Liu were killed by a gunman who opened fire on their patrol car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood without warning. The gunman, identified by police as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, made social media posts indicating he set out to kill police. He killed himself after the shootings.

Justin Ramos also expressed his condolences to Liu’s loved ones. "We share in your pain and suffering, and you’re in all of our thoughts and prayers at this time of tremendous adversity," he said.

Justin said of his father, "I’m eternally thankful for the sacrifices he made for all of us," adding that he and his brother would strive to live their lives in ways that would honor his memory. "He always spoke about how proud he was of us, and we want to continue to make him proud. Rest in peace, Dad."


— Phil Helsel