As New Yorkers mourned the loss of New York City Police Department officer Miosotis Familia, her neighbors mourned the loss and shared some of their stories about her.
“She was a great person,” said Edwin Herrera, one of her neighbors at Shalom Aleichem Houses, who appeared to be in disbelief over her death.
“Her mother is a sweetheart. Her kids are great, too.”
Familia was shot in the early morning hours of July 5 near the corner of Morris Avenue and East 183rd Street while doing paperwork in an NYPD mobile command unit. Her accused killer, 34-year-old Alexander Bonds, was later shot by police.
Familia, a mother of three who grew up in the greater Riverdale area, was rushed to Saint Barnabas Hospital in the West Bronx, where she later succumbed to her injuries.
Herrera first met Familia more than five years ago when Herrera was her apartment building’s assistant superintendent.
“She didn’t deserve this,” Herrera said.
He recalled one of their last conversations earlier this year as Familia was leaving for a trip to the Dominican Republic. “I asked her to take me with her,” Herrera joked with Familia at the time.
The last time Herrera saw her was two weeks ago as she took her two younger children to school. They exchanged greetings, but didn’t have a chance to speak at length.
Herrera knew Familia was a police officer, but they never discussed her job and she never wore her uniform in the community.
In fact, Joelle Lynch — who lived near Familia — didn’t even know she was a police officer.
“We’d see her coming in and out, and she was just very friendly,” Lynch said. “She was always warm and caring. She’d stop by and say, ‘Hi, have a good holiday.’ ‘Have a good weekend.’ She was a kind and neighborly woman.”
Former Community Board 8 chair Daniel Padernacht, who lived in same building as Familia, said she was always kind to him.
“She was strong and she cared about her family,” Padernacht said. “That is what really stood out about her. I would frequently see her and her mom in the building with (Familia’s) kids.”
The two met nearly a decade ago when Familia attended the wake of Padernacht’s father. It was then Padernacht learned Familia not only lived in the building but was also a police officer.
“I was shocked,” Padernacht said when he learned of Familia’s death. “I was in a little bit of a disbelief that it was her. I still can’t believe it was her.”
Lynch added that many people are upset by what happened.
“Whatever you think or feel about police officers, they’re people,” she said.
“They have families. They have lives. They are a part of the community. It’s heartbreaking. They don’t deserve this. They are the ones keeping us safe.”
Familia's life and career of service inspired a tribute from those who did not know her. The Kiwanis Club of Riverdale, for example, held a moment of silence in Familia’s honor at a meeting last week.
“I felt it was the right thing to do, and the human thing to do for our club,” Kiwanis president Douglas Hickey said.
Thousands filled the Grand Concourse for Familia’s funeral services Tuesday, where she was posthumously promoted to detective.
“This was an unprovoked direct attack on police officers who were assigned to keep the people of this city safe,” police commissioner James P. O’Neill said in a July 5 statement.
“During this tragic time, it gives us solace that Officer Miosotis Familia was the true embodiment of an angel that served her purpose on Earth through her dedicated service to the community,” Raysa Galvez, president of the New York Dominican Officers Organization, said in a statement.
“She is now our guardian angel who will watch over us, and keep her family — and us — safe.”
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered flags to be flown at half-mast in Familia’s honor.
“She’ll be greatly missed by her family and friends, by our community,” Padernacht said. “We live in … an enclosed complex, and many of the families knew each other. And it’s a loss.”