More than 1000 law enforcement officers joined hundreds of other mourners Jan. 21 in tribute to slain Oakland police officer Ramon Irizarry, “a superb undercover officer and an excellent investigator.”
Neighbors of Allen Temple Baptist Church in East Oakland peered from porches and windows as an army of uniformed men and women from police, sheriff and fire departments throughout the state lined the streets leading to the church and filed in for the services.
In a poignant eulogy, Oakland police Lieutenant Mike Wilson noted that the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was observed during the time that the 25-year-old officer was hospitalized in a coma.
Wilson suggested that just as King died for a dream that was never realized in his lifetime, “Ramon too had a dream that motivated him.” That dream, Wilson said, “Was to improve society and to make a direct contribution . . . to fighting crime.
“Ramon laid down his life for the community he loved,” Wilson said. “Don’t ever think that his death was in vain.”
Dr. J. Alfred Smith, pastor of Allen Temple, urged the mourners to offer the police “our support, our love and our smiles,” and to encourage inner-city youth to avoid criminal activity, which led to the young officer’s death.
Irizarry, who lived in Pittsburg, was survived by his wife, Breanda; a 2-year-old son, Michael Ramon; his parents, Ramon and Jenetha Irizarry of New York City, and a sister and two brothers, also living in New York.
His body was flown to New York for burial.
Irizarry was shot in the head at close range on Jan. 11 as he and several other officers served a search warrant on the occupants of a house in West Oakland suspected of being the center of drug trafficking and fencing of stolen goods.
Doctors said Irizarry had been clinically dead – kept alive on life support machines – since the shooting. His attending physicians concluded that he had no chance for recovery.
While the funeral was in progress, the man suspected of killing Irizarry, Bobbie Joe Buckley, 41, appeared in Oakland-Piedmont Municipal Court to be arraigned on a charge of murder with special circumstances.
Buckley was wounded in the face when three officers fired at him as he fled from the shooting scene.