NYPD Detective Joseph Lemm's 4-year-old son, Ryan, salutes his father's casket as they depart the funeral services at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Wednesday. Lemm, a 15-year NYPD veteran, was killed with five other U.S. soldiers while on patrol near Bagram Air Base when a suicide bomber strapped with explosives rammed a motorcycle into the joint NATO-Afghan security convoy on Dec. 21. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Dozens of New York City police officers turned out Wednesday to honor an Air National Guard soldier and NYPD detective who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan last week.
The department honored Joseph Lemm in a funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Wednesday. The technical sergeant of the 105th Base Security Squadron and 15-year member of the police force was killed Dec. 21 when a suicide bomber attacked Bagram Air Base.
Wednesday's funeral followed a wake at St. Anthony of Padua in West Harrison, N.Y., a day earlier, during which hundreds of friends, relatives and fellow officers paid tribute to the 45-year-old Westchester resident.
The funeral was attended by NYPD Commissioner William Bratton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"This war took him thousands of miles away from his family and the city and country he so dearly loved," Bratton said in his eulogy. "Now it has taken him farther than miles. It has taken him to a new post in eternity."
Lemm is survived by his wife, 17-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son -- who stood at attention and saluted his father's casket at the funeral.
Lemm recorded 427 arrests and earned five commendations during his 15 years as a New York City detective. Colleagues remembered him as a tough and sometimes fearless crime fighter on the streets of the Bronx -- often one of the city's roughest boroughs.
At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Lemm was nicknamed "Superman" by some of his fellow officers. He moved to New York City from Nebraska in 2000 with the intention of joining the NYPD. His most recent stint in Afghanistan was his third tour of duty overseas. He was scheduled to return to the United States in March.
"For Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Lemm, his war is ended," Bratton said.
Louis Bonacasa, 31, from Long Island, N.Y., was also killed in the suicide attack, which occurred while Lemm's patrol was moving through an Afghan village near Bagram, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan.
"Today we say farewell to a hero of our time, and a hero for all ages, a patriot who centered his life on protecting others," Bratton added. "We honor a United States serviceman, an NYPD detective, a husband, father, son, brother, and for so many, a friend."