The line of mourners who paid homage to slain Nassau County police officer Arthur Lopez during a wake at Empire Hose Company in Merrick on Friday included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who arrived at Newbridge Road Park in Bellmore from New York City via police helicopter before he was whisked to the firehouse in a motorcade.
Bloomberg was met at the back of the firehouse by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and New York State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg before he offered his condolences to Lopez’s family, who had arrived 15 minutes earlier in a motorcade.
Bloomberg was one in a long line of elected leaders who attended the wake on Friday, including New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre, Sen. Charles Fuschillo of Merrick and Assemblyman David McDonough of North Merrick.
It was the second wake held in two days for Lopez, 29, of Babylon Village, who was allegedly gunned down on Tuesday by 33-Darrell Fuller in New York City, near the Cross Island Parkway, after Lopez pulled over the ex-convict who had served time for attempted murder and drug sale. According to police, Fuller had been involved in a car accident on the Cross Island a short time earlier. Raymond Facey, 52, of Brooklyn, was also killed by Fuller that day, according to police. (For full story, see “Thousands expected at police officer’s wake in Merrick,” Oct. 25.)
Black-and-purple buntings were hung across the front of Empire Hose Company, on Merrick Avenue, one block south of the Sunrise Highway, and the line of hundreds of mourners extended for blocks south down Merrick Avenue during Lopez’s wake. Many in the crowd were Nassau County and New York City police officers, but many others were civilians, dressed in dark suits and dresses. They stood quietly, solemnly, while officers from the Nassau County Police Department’s equestrian unit patrolled the area on horseback.
As an Emergency Services Unit officer and volunteer firefighter, Lopez was a specialist in removing crash victims from crumpled vehicles, and this past Saturday, three days before he was killed, he was at the Four Towns Fire Training Center on Merrick Road in Merrick, helping to train South Shore firefighters in victim extrication in an exercise hosted by the North Merrick Fire Department, according to Ron Luparello, a Merrick Fire Department spokesman and former chief.
Before joining ESU, which is based on Newbridge Road in North Bellmore, Lopez was a patrolman with the 1st Precinct, which is based in Baldwin.
Lopez’s funeral was held at St. Christopher’s Roman Catholic Church in Baldwin at noon on Saturday.