Eric Tyler said his father had asked him some time ago to wash his body when he died, as is the Muslim tradition. Tyler said he did that Friday and was glad he had the chance.
“It was a relief because I got to say I love him,” Tyler said. “I got to tell him me and my siblings were going to be better people.”
Tyler spoke after his father’s coffin rested in front of a Lanham, Md. mosque, draped with a green cloth as a sonorous devotional song sounded at the Friday funeral for Prince George’s County police Cpl. Mujahid Ramzziddin, 51.
Hundreds including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Md. Congressman Steny H. Hoyer and police officers from across the region gathered at the Diyanet Center of America to mourn the officer killed while helping a woman during a domestic dispute.
The ceremony began shortly after 1:30 p.m., as mourners gathered on a gray day and in a light rain. There was a short prayer, followed by remembrances in speeches by people who knew Ramzziddin personally and professionally.
“For many years, our brother woke up along with his fellow officers knowing this might be the last day they see their families,” said Diyanet’s Imam Ali Tos. “If this is not the definition of self sacrifice, I don’t know what is.”
Tos was followed by Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski, who said Ramzziddin’s death was a “selfless act in a time of selfish violence.” Stawinski called Ramzziddin a shahid, or Muslim martyr.
“In sacrificing himself to save another, he died a consequential death,” Stawinski said.
Ramzziddin’s son, rose next, saying his father was relaxing in their Brandywine home on Wednesday morning, when a neighbor needed help.
“Without hesitation, he went out there to help that lady,” Tyler said. “Today, my dad is a hero.”
Ramzziddin, who was off duty, was shot Wednesday morning by the estranged husband of a neighbor, who had requested his presence as she was collecting belongings and was having the locks changed after domestic disputes at the home the couple shared.
Shortly after the officer went to the nearby home in his Brandywine neighborhood, the woman’s estranged husband Glenn Tyndell appeared to confront her. He shot Ramzziddin five times with a shotgun before taking Ramzziddin’s police-issued weapon and fleeing in an SUV, police have said.
Tyndell was later confronted by two police officers, who fatally shot him in a confrontation along Indian Head Highway. Rounds had been fired from the service weapon Tyndell had taken from Ramzziddin, police said.
The 14-year member of the police department, was recalled as a dedicated public servant and a hero. The father of four and former Marine has also been lauded for his commitment to serving his faith community.
The service ended with the Muslim funeral prayer, known as the Salat-al-Janazah, as Ramzziddin’s coffin was loaded in a silver hearse.
The officer was buried in Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Maryland. Officers from special honor guards and officers in street uniforms solemnly saluted as they lined the route on which residents also stood and quietly watched, many with hands over their hearts, as the hearse moved from the prayer service to the burial site.
Ramzziddin’s funeral drew strangers, too.
Shakira Baruwa, 34, typically attends the mosque for Friday prayers but stayed later for Ramzziddin’s service. She didn’t know Ramzziddin but in Islam, it’s encouraged to attend the funeral of others, she said, because “it reminds you that one day you will be in the same position.”
Around 11:30 a.m. Friday, Ramzziddin’s family entered the mosque with white and gold minarets, as waves of motorcycle officers from Maryland, Virginia and the District rumbled down the street flashing red and blue lights in tributes.
Ramzziddin is the 30th Prince George’s County officer to die in the line of duty.
Tyndell had three open warrants for assault related to altercations with his wife, and he had been ordered to turn in all of his weapons to a local sheriff’s office after a judge issued a temporary protective order for his wife that barred Tyndell from seeing her.