APRIL 13, 2014
The bodies were discovered throughout the first-floor railroad flat in Brooklyn, a bizarre still-life of death. Many of the victims remained seated in chairs or couches; one woman’s hands still held a spoon and a small can of pudding.
It came to be known as the Palm Sunday Massacre, the largest mass shooting in the New York area in decades. Ten people were killed that day 30 years ago, including eight children. Only one survivor was found: a crying toddler covered in blood, crawling at the feet of the dead.
The tiny girl was handed to one of the first police officers to arrive. A front-page photograph in The New York Post, under the headline “The Only Survivor,” shows the officer clutching Christina Rivera, 13 months old, a pacifier in the child’s mouth.
The officer was assigned to the toddler through the night, taking her to the hospital and then watching over her at a police station in East New York. Since that day, the officer has never really let go.
The officer became the girl’s benefactor, then a surrogate parent. At age 14, Christina moved in with the officer and her new husband. And then last year, the officer adopted Christina, now 31. …
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