Family and friends of one of the New York police officers who were shot dead in what officials call an "assassination" this weekend spoke out tonight for the first time since the attack, praising him and calling for calm.
Officer Rafael Ramos, who was fatally shot while sitting in his patrol car alongside his partner Officer Wenjian Liu, "will always be loved and missed by many," his aunt Lucy Ramos said today.
She, like other community leaders who appeared with her at a press conference this evening, called New Yorkers and police to come together "so that we can move forward and find an amicable path to a peaceful coexistence."
Juan Rodriguez, who was a friend of Officer Ramos' for 20 years and serves as the community council president for the 75th precinct, said he doesn't "want the city of New York to think everyone is against the police department."
Though he didn't go as far as the leader of the city's largest police union -- who has been in an escalating standoff with Mayor Bill de Blasio and who Saturday said that the mayor has "blood on his hands" for the deaths of these officers -- Rodriguez was critical of de Blasio and urged him to "please show your leadership."
Tensions have been rising between police and de Blasio ever since he spoke at length after the Eric Garner grand jury decision about the ways that he taught his biracial son to approach police tentatively.
"What about if that was your son who got shot in the police car? What if it was your son who got shot in the head?" Rodriguez said at tonight's press conference.
Rep. Nydia Velasquez, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and other community leaders also spoke at the press conference, which was held in front of Ramos' home.