Amid a sea of blue police uniforms, the flag-draped coffin of Lt. Michael Pigott was carried out of the United Methodist Church of Islip Monday.
Bagpipers from the Emerald Society accompanied the scene, as an NYPD helicopter swooped low over Main Street.
Moments earlier, the church pastor, the Rev. Douglas Madlon, called
Pigott "a gift from God." Others in the gallery of mourners called him
"a cop's cop" and gentle-hearted.
The lieutenant from Sayville killed himself on his 46th birthday last
week, eight days after ordering an officer to use a Taser on a man who
wound up falling to his death.
The suicide stunned fellow cops, more than 2,000 of whom came to the church Monday to pay their respects.
During a Sept. 24 police standoff with a naked, emotionally disturbed
man, Pigott, a 21-year veteran officer serving with the elite Emergency
Service Unit, ordered the man be subdued with a Taser. The man, Iman
Morales, 35, fell from the ledge he was standing on 10 feet to the
ground -- striking his head on the pavement and dying.
Following the incident, Pigott was reassigned to NYPD Fleet Services in
Queens. Citing his failure to follow procedure, the NYPD stripped
Pigott of his gun and badge.
A few days later, Pigott told Newsday in an exclusive interview: "I am
truly sorry for what happened to Mr. Morales. I feel terrible about
what happened to the man." He added: "I've been a police officer for 21
years. And I loved being with the Emergency Service Unit."
On Thursday morning, Pigott, a father of three, broke into a locker at
the ESU facility at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, took another
officer's handgun and shot himself in the head.
"It's a horrible, horrible thing," NYPD Officer Kerryann Douglass said
before Monday's funeral. ""He was a great man. He was a cop's cop."
An hour before the funeral, two fire trucks were parked on each side of
Main Street, ladders extended about 40 feet into the air and meeting
A large American flag hung from the ladders in preparation for the funeral procession.
At his wake over the weekend, friends praised Pigott as a good cop, a good man, who made a decision that haunted him.
"It's a gut-wrenching situation," a New York City highway patrol
officer who declined to identify himself said down the block from the
church Monday morning. "I feel compelled to come out and show respect
for the family."
On Monday morning, many mourners agreed with the sentiment.
The reverend, in recalling Pigott, told those gathered:
"Michael has been a gift from God. But, unfortunately, we have to give
that gift back today." Later, the reverend said: "There is a voice
inside us that continues to say this just isn't happening."
Pigott is to be buried Monday afternoon in Oakwood Cemetery in Bay Shore.
Before the burial, funeral officials said the hearse carrying the late
officer would make on last drive past his home in Sayville.
Hundreds Remember 'Cop's Cop' in Islip
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