A fallen New York City policeman was honored Friday at a funeral that drew thousands of uniformed police officers from around the country and a tribute from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Officer Alain Schaberger was one of two police officers mourned on the same day on Long Island. A funeral also was held Friday in Selden for Nassau County Officer Geoffrey Breitkopf, who died in a friendly fire incident in Massapequa Park last Saturday.
"It's tough for the troops," said Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey. "They're wrestling three emotions simultaneously: There's certainly grief and compassion for the family, and they're still dealing with anger."
Officers lined the streets in both funerals.
Schaberger, 42, died after responding to a domestic dispute in Brooklyn on Sunday. Authorities said he fell and broke his neck after being pushed over a railing by the suspect in the case. He was the first city officer to die in the line of duty in nearly two years.
Inside the packed funeral home for Schaberger, Bloomberg called Schaberger a "quiet and gentle soul" who had helped grieving families when he was assigned to guard the perimeter of the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
"He brought a lot of comfort to a lot of people," Bloomberg said of Schaberger. "And if he were here today, to comfort those he loved most I think he would tell you to remember not the last tragic moment of his life but the many wonderful moments that came before it."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly called Schaberger a "cop's cop" and said his death had reverberated through the community as a whole.
"The murder of a police officer is not a solitary event," Kelly said. "It is an assault upon society, and told our society grieves with Alain's loved ones over this terrible loss."
The man suspected of shoving Schaberger, George Villanueva, was indicted Friday in Brooklyn on a charge of aggravated murder, but his lawyer said the officer fell to his death after one of his own knocked into him. Attorney Kleon Andreadis said eyewitnesses described a chaotic scene with officers bumping into one another. He said his client was not guilty and would plead innocent at his arraignment.