One of the two NYPD officers slain by a man who posted on Instagram that he was "putting wings on pigs" was set to become a volunteer chaplain on the day of his death, officials say.
Rafael Ramos had finished a 10-week course with the New York State Chaplain Task Force and was scheduled to attend a graduation ceremony at 4 p.m. Saturday, said the Rev. Marcos Miranda, the non-profit organization's president.
An hour before the ceremonies began, Ramos and fellow officer Wenjian Liu were ambushed and fatally shot by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who then ran into a nearby subway station in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and took his own life.
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Miranda said he didn't know if Ramos had planned to attend the graduation ceremony but said his group plans to present Ramos' widow and sons with a certificate of completion and his chaplain's credentials at the man's funeral on Saturday.
Miranda said that he met Ramos shortly after the man began his coursework. He said they spoke several times and described him as an "amazing" person who was always seen with a smile on his face. Miranda said Ramos did very well in the course and told him that he wanted to become a full-time minister when he retired from the NYPD.
"You could see the kindness radiating in his eyes," Miranda said. "He had very kind eyes."
The New York State Chaplain's Task force is not affiliated with the NYPD, but it trains people to provide emergency spiritual and emotional services.
Ramos was very active at his church, Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, Queens, where he served as an usher, and was part of the marriage and life group ministries.
"Ralph was definitely a family man," said the church communications director, Janice de Castro, in a statement. "He always talked about his kids and how well they were doing athletically and academically. He loved his family and his church."
A wake for Ramos will be held from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Christ Tabernacle Church. The funeral will be held there at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The White House said Tuesday that Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will be attending the service at President Obama's request.