By PAT MILTON
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK- An estimated 20,000 police officers, some from as far away as Hawaii and Japan, turned a Brooklyn neighborhood into an ocean of blue Tuesday in a tribute to a slain New York police officer.
"It was simply his nature to want to help others," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said of 35-year-old Dillon Stewart.
Stewart, shot though the heart during a Nov. 28 traffic stop, was remembered as an extraordinary man who made an extraordinary decision to quit his accounting job and join the NYPD at age 30.
"I feel truly blessed and honored to have married such a wonderful man. His life was just begun," Stewart's widow Leslyn told friends, family and others who gathered at the cavernous 1,500-seat New Life Tabernacle Church. "I will always love him with my whole heart."
The Stewarts' children, 6-year-old Alexis and 5-month-old Samantha, sat with friends.
Kelly was joined by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who hailed Stewart for his dedication to both family and job.
"Dillon was a hero," Bloomberg told the crowd. "In fact, from his earliest days, service to others came as natural to Dillon as breathing."
The Jamaican-born Stewart grew up in Brooklyn. His accused killer, Allan Cameron, was charged with first-degree murder. Cameron also was charged with attempted murder in the shooting of an off-duty officer days earlier.
Local residents held up signs praising the slain officer. "This Brooklyn community has the deepest sympathy for Officer Stewart and his family," read one.
As the casket, draped in a green and white NYPD flag, was brought out of the church on its way to the cemetery, seven NYPD helicopters did a flyover.