The NYPD and a community on Long Island are mourning the loss of Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, who was killed in a shootout with a suspect in the Bronx’s Van Nest neighborhood Friday afternoon.
“This city is in mourning, and the family of the NYPD is in mourning and particularly all the men and women of the 4-3 Precinct are in mourning right now over the loss of a very good man, a devoted man, the man who committed his life to protecting all of us,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Friday night.
As flags around the city fly at half-staff, the NYPD spoke out on Twitter, urging residents to keep Tuozzolo and his family in their thoughts.
“#NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, 41, was shot and killed today while keeping the people of #NYC safe. Please keep him & his family in your thoughts,” tweeted NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill late Friday night. The message was retweeted by many other NYPD accounts, including the 43rd Precinct where Tuozzolo had worked for the last 10 years of his 19-year career.
NYPD Special Ops tweeted on Saturday that “[Tuozzolo’s] heroism will never be forgotten.”
“As we mourn the loss of Sgt. Tuozzolo we'd like to thank community members, clergy & law enforcement partners for the outpouring of support,” tweeted NYPD News, the department’s main account, on Saturday.
NYPD Recruitment tweeted “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
“May Sgt. Tuozzolo, Rest In Peace. Please take a moment to pray for his family and friends. #NYPD,” tweeted the 100th Precinct.
Tuozzolo was fatally wounded in the head and chest by home invasion suspect Manuel Rosales, police said. He was pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center, O'Neill said. Tuozzolo leaves behind a wife and two children under the age of 5.
Rosales, 35, from Long Island, was also killed in the shootout, according to police.
Another sergeant, Emmanuel Kwo, 30, was wounded in the leg. He was released from Jacobi Medical Center after being treated for his injuries, police said.
A somber mood swept through the 43rd Precinct on Saturday as police officers paid their respects with flowers, candles and food for the grieving precinct’s officers and staff.
In a show of solidarity FDNY firefighters from Engine Company 96 next door delivered oven pans of home-cooked baked ziti. Neighbors and area restaurants sent food and brought flowers.
“This is my family. My heart is broken. I cried all night,” said Leonor Pacheco, 59, who lives next to the precinct.
Meanwhile on Long Island, hundreds of people attended a vigil Saturday at The Paramount in Huntington Village, near where Tuozzolo lived. Blue ribbons were tied on lamp posts in the area in solidarity with police.
“He was a good guy, a family man,” said a neighbor, Danny Clarke. “A good person, a decent human being. It’s so sad to hear his life was taken like that.”
“Sgt. Tuozzolo is a resident of Huntington so he was a neighbor as well as a law enforcement brother,” said James Carver, Nassau County Police Benevolent Association president, in a statement. “The Nassau County PBA and its members can be counted on to do whatever they can to support the families of the two officers and the brother officers of the NYPD and especially the 43rd Precinct where Sgt. Tuozzolo was assigned for the past 10 years. It is a sad day for law enforcement.”
The Joseph Petrosino Association, named for a New York police detective killed in 1909, plans to make a $1,000 donation to the Tuozzolo family, officials said.