Slain officer Wenjian Liu was pursuing the American dream, family says

Pei Xia Chen, center, wife of slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu, speaks in front of her home in Brooklyn on Monday, Dec. 22, 2014.
Pei Xia Chen, center, wife of slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu, speaks in front of her home in Brooklyn on Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. Photo Credit: AVENUE

The family of slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu spoke publicly for the first time Monday, two days after the 32-year-old Brooklyn officer was shot alongside his partner in their police car.

Standing in front of the family’s two-story Gravesend home, Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen, held back tears as she spoke. The pair were married two months ago.

“The Liu family would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the police department, our neighbors, the entire New York City community, friends, and co-workers, for the help and support they provide,” she said, surrounded by friends and supporters. “We would also like to express our condolences to the officer [Rafael] Ramos’ family, this is a difficult time for both of our families.

“But we will stand together and get through this together,” Chen added.

An only child, Liu was “a dedicated public servant who committed his life to helping others,” according to a statement from the his family.

On Monday, friends and neighbors streamed in and out of the house, some dropped off flowers or candles as a small memorial grew in the front yard. Officers from the 84th Precinct, where Liu was most recently assigned, came by to offer their condolences.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and first lady Chirlane McCray visited the Liu family earlier in the day.

Later in the day, the Liu family thanked them — as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo — for their support.

Liu came to the United States on Dec. 24, 1994, when he was 12 years old, according to a written statement the family provided to the media. They traveled thousands of miles “to seek the American dream from Canton, China” and in search of “a better life for the family.”

Liu learned English while attending Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, according to his family. He went on to study at Kingsborough Community College and major in accounting at the College of Staten Island.

While the typical path would be to pursue finance or medicine, the future police officer had other ideas, the family said. He joined the police department in July 2007 and was “proud” to do so.

“His dreams were of providing for his current and growing family,” the family statement said, adding that he was an active participant with the NYPD Asian Jade Society. “He was an asset to the police department using his Chinese Language skills whenever and wherever it was needed.”

Liu first volunteered as part of the 72nd Precinct Auxiliary Police, in Sunset Park, before graduating the police academy and being assigned to the 73rd and the 84th precincts.

NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Joanne Jaffee visited the family earlier in the day after having spent time with them in the hospital.

“We offered our condolences,” she said. “It’s very sad.”

For their part, the Liu family offered their condolences to Ramos’ family, whom they called their “extended family.”

“The Liu family grieves with them and the New York City Police Department,” the family statement said.