By Sarah Armaghan New York Daily News
A beloved NYPD lieutenant who spent months at Ground Zero was mourned by hundreds at his wake Wednesday night, just days after he died of cancer that had spread throughout his body, his heartbroken family said.Lt. Christopher Pupo, a Special Operations Lieutenant at the 41st Precinct in the Bronx, died Saturday at an upstate hospice after his four-year battle with multiple myeloma that manifested in his bone marrow then caused tumors in his back.
“I just want everyone to know he loved his family, he loved his job and he would do it all over again in a heart beat,” said his widow Kristen. “He has no regrets – he told me he would have returned to Ground Zero knowing the outcome.”
Just days before his death, Pupo, 40, was made an honorary detective commander of the 41st Precinct, said the command’s Captain Philip Rivera.
“He lit up,” Rivera said when Pupo was given his detective’s pin. “It was very important to him, it was something that was a dream of his.”
Having three young daughters of his own, Pupo – who had 14 years on the force – took special interest in conducting undercover operations to collar johns soliciting prostitutes to get them off the streets, Rivera said.
“He did his part to remove that scourge from the community,” Rivera said. “He came to work every day, ready to work and accomplish something and make a difference out there.”
Pupo – who won a Petty Officer of the Year Award while serving with the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves in the Middle East- worked on the pile and security detail at Ground Zero, even on his days off.
The officer worked until May before pneumonia struck. He was rushed to the hospital when doctors found out he had a tumor pressing up against his lung and the cancer had metastasized.
Pupo’s life was being celebrated Thursday at a funeral mass at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Tappan, N.Y., followed by his burial at the Rockland Cemetery in Sparkill, NY.
“He was a true giver,” his wife said. “He will be greatly missed.”