By Tim Harfmann
A sea of NYPD blue filled the pews of Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hills, Queens, to remember Detective Brian Simonsen on Feb. 12.
The 42-year-old was shot and killed while responding to an armed robbery one year earlier.
The detective’s widow, Leanne, said the pain is still strong.
“I lost my husband, my best friend and literally my everything,” Simonsen said. “When I was told that Brian was gone, a huge part of me died.”
NYPD Chaplain Monsignor Robert Romano celebrated the Memorial Mass.
“Together as a family — the family of blood and the family of blue — we work together to be with the family today, to reassure them that this department will never forget them,” said Monsignor Romano.
Also showing their support for the 19-year veteran were NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I think we, as a society, forget so many things;” said Mayor de Blasio. “And one thing we forget is that New York City simply cannot work, does not work, without guardians like Detective Brian Simonsen.”
Catholic academy students from Holy Child Jesus also paid respects to the guardian.
The Richmond Hill parish is located blocks from Simonsen’s 102 precinct.
The students added to the growing memorial a year ago, and they still honor the NYPD each day.
“[The NYPD] is a respected part of our community here. They’re certainly called to do a lot in our neighborhood,” said Father Christopher Heanue, administrator of Holy Child Jesus Church.
The local community is remembering a detective called to serve the neighborhood and city, showing that he is gone but not forgotten.