The Merrick Fire Department is expecting thousands of mourners at a wake at Empire Hose Company for slain Nassau County police officer Arthur Lopez of Babylon Village, who was gunned down on Tuesday morning in Queens after he pulled over an ex-convict who had served time for attempted murder and drug sale.
The suspect, 33-year-old Darrell Fuller of Queens, allegedly shot and killed Lopez, 29, after crashing a silver Honda into another car on the Cross Island Parkway, near the Nassau-Queens border, according to authorities. After killing Lopez during the traffic stop, police charge, Fuller then gunned down 52-year-old Raymond Facey of Brooklyn after forcing his car off the Cross Island Parkway in order to steal it. New York City police captured Fuller late Tuesday evening after an intense manhunt.
The Merrick Fire Department’s Empire Hose Company was selected for Lopez’s wake, in part, because its meeting hall is large enough to accommodate the crowds of people who are expected to pay homage to the decorated Emergency Services Unit officer, according to Ron Luparello, a Merrick Fire Department spokesman and former chief.
“We’re preparing for 10,000 people over the next two days,” Luparello said.
Empire Hose Company is on Merrick Avenue, one block south of Sunrise Highway and across the street from the Merrick Library. Wake hours will be 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Thursday’s 2-to-4 wake is for Lopez’s immediate family, Luparello said.
Merrick Avenue, from Sunrise Highway to Kirkwood Avenue, will be shut down during wake hours. The Merrick F.D. is asking mourners to park at the Long Island Rail Road lot on Sunrise Highway, on the north side of the Sunrise, or in the Curé of Ars Roman Catholic Church lot just south of Empire Hose Company, on the east side of Merrick Avenue.
Funeral services for Lopez will be held at St. Christopher’s Roman Catholic Church in Baldwin at noon on Saturday.
As an Emergency Services Unit officer and volunteer firefighter, Lopez was a specialist in removing crash victims from crumpled vehicles, and this past Saturday, Luparello said, he was at the Four Towns Fire Training Center on Merrick Road in Merrick, helping to train South Shore firefighters in victim extrication in an exercise hosted by the North Merrick Fire Department.