An allt-too familiar sight recently
Jan 28, 2015 | 7895 views | 0 0 comments | 308 308 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, we ran this photo from our archives asking for any information about its history. Jeff Gottlieb, president of the Central Queens Historical Association, believes it was taken at the funeral for Officer Edward Byrne, a member of the 103rd Precinct who was murdered as he staked out a home at the intersection of 107th Avenue and Inwood Street in February of 1988.

The home belonged to a Guyanese immigrant who repeatedly called police concerning illegal activities on his street. The home had been firebombed twice and the owner repeatedly threatened.

Despite the dangerous situation and the growing violence related to drug dealing in south Queens, Byrne was assigned to the stakeout without a partner.

As he sat in his car, two men approached. One knocked on the passenger side window of the police cruiser to get Byrne's attention while another man shot him five times in the head through the driver's side window. The killers and two men who acted as lookouts were later arrested and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

The murder of Byrne, who was just 22 years old and had joined the force just two years earlier, sparked national outrage and led to a crack down on violence in the borough.

There's several reminders of Officer Byrne in Queens. A section of 91st Avenue was named in his honor, Officer Edward Byrne Park was dedicated in 1995, and the Police Athletic league renamed its Queens Center after him.

Some notable people in the photo include a young Rudy Giuliani (third from right, second row), then starting with the third from the right and moving left, then-Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward, Mayor Ed Koch, Senator Alfonse D'Amato, Congressman Mario Biaggi, and Matthew Byrne, Edward's father and himself a former police officer.

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