NYPD Det. Wenjian Liu's American dream became a reality on the corner of West Sixth Street and Avenue T in Bensonhurst where he bought his parents' first home and where he became a police officer patrolling Brooklyn's neighborhoods.
On Saturday the city renamed the street Det. Wenjian Liu Way to memorialize his death, having been gunned down while on duty with his partner, Det. Rafael Ramos, in December 2014. They were both shot dead while sitting in their patrol car by a lone gunman who shot himself afterward.
Naming the street after Liu "is the least we can do to remember him and it's good to let the family know we care about him," said Officer Edmond Li, an 11-year veteran who attended the service and visited the Liu family inside their modest two-story brick home.
"It's a beautiful day, but there is a sadness in the air," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, who also visited the family.
The families of both slain officers attended the service, where they were surrounded by dozens of uniformed officers, relatives, friends and neighbors. Speaking to them was Liu's father, Liu's widow, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton.
"It is powerful to be remembered in a place where the American dream came true for Det. Wenjian Liu," de Blasio said.
Bratton said Liu's life was a "Brooklyn story where he grew up to love his country and to take care of his parents and new wife . . . I only hope that in the future, when a mother and her children cross this street, they will be able to tell their children that Det. Wenjian Liu was a hero."
Holding back tears, Liu's widow, Pei Xia Chen, who wore her husband's badge around her neck, said that "this is a celebration" for her husband, "who sacrificed his life to protect this city and community . . . We have to trust and have faith in the New York City Police Department. We need them to protect and make this a better city."
Neighbor Sam Basile, 43, who has lived on the block 40 years, said he instantly became friends with Liu. "He was always working like me. He was a good person who took care of his parents. I miss the guy."