De Blasio: Cop killed chasing a ‘very bad man’

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio led the public mourning to slain Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo as he was remembered Sunday across Long Island and New York City — two days after he was gunned down by a burglary suspect in the Bronx.

O’Neill, accompanied by Chief of Department Carlos Gomez, visited the Tuozzolo home in Greenlawn, where the sergeant lived with his wife and two young children.

“I just thought it was important, and Carlos thought it was important, that we come out here to offer our condolences in person,” O’Neill said after they emerged from the house Sunday afternoon after about an hour-long visit.

The commissioner said Tuozzolo’s family is “devastated.”

Tuozzolo’s visitation has been set for Wednesday afternoon at the Frederick J. Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage, according to the funeral home’s website. Burial and funeral Mass information was not yet available as of Sunday night.

Sergeant’s Benevolent Association head Ed Mullins said a vigil is expected Monday night at the 43 Precinct at about 7 p.m.

During a presidential campaign tour of African-American churches on Sunday, de Blasio sought a moment of silence for Tuozzolo, as he addressed congregants at the Church of God of East Flatbush as he stumped for Hillary Clinton.

“Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo was chasing down a man, a very bad man, who held his own family at gunpoint, against an order of protection,” de Blasio said. “The sergeant was one of the officers who went to get that man and get him off the street and he gave his life while serving us and protecting us.”

Tuozzolo, 41, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, was killed and another sergeant was shot in the leg during a firefight with Manuel Rosales, 35, of Brentwood. Rosales, a career-criminal with 17 arrests in Suffolk County since 1998, was shot dead after the confrontation.

In Tuozzolo’s neighborhood Sunday, blue ribbons honoring the sergeant fluttered from trees and electrical posts in his and a blue line painted by the Town of Huntington Highway Department traveled down his street and for blocks down an intersecting road in tribute.

Across the street from Tuozzolo’s house, a T-shirt with “I love New York’s finest” was duct-taped to a chain-link fence.

Several cars had pulled into and later left the Tuozzolo driveway throughout the day Sunday. Suffolk police remained on guard in front of the house. A blue ribbon was tied to the mailbox.

One woman left a boquet of white roses on the lawn.

“We stand by you,” said a white note with blue lettering.

Resident Glenn Hunt, 55, said the ribbons and other outpouring was was an important gesture of support for the police.

“A lot of cops get a bad rap lately with the shootings and everything,” he said. “He was doing his job trying to help the community and paid for it with his life. It’s tragic, especially for his family.”

Neighbor Priscila Cruz, 34, said the ribbons “show support for the family. This was an officer out there protecting our community. It’s such a sad thing.”

Meanwhile, a woman who identified herself as the mother of Tia Rosales, Manuel Rosales’ estranged wife, spoke briefly to a reporter on Sunday morning.

“I have her son here, and it’s not good,” the woman said from a window of her East Setauket home. She declined to say where her daughter was staying.

Manuel Rosales was shot dead after the Friday afternoon confrontation with Tuozzolo, and several other NYPD officers, including a trainee, officials said. The “gray shirt” trainee cop, who is still in the academy and was on patrol as part of field training, fired shots, but the police deapartment has not identified him.

Two officers fired most of the rounds, including the probationary officers and the officer who drove one of the two sergeants to the scene, a law enforcement official said.

Sgt. Emmanuel Kwo, 30, who was also shot in the gunfire exhange, was released from Jacobi Medical Center hours after the shooting. Tuozzolo was pronounced at the medical center after being taken off life support, police said.

Police continued Sunday to investigate the shooting, including tracing the origin of Rosales’ .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun and conducting an analysis of the shooting scene. Investigators have so far examined surveillance video, officials said, and are still trying to determine whether Kwo was struck by friendly fire.

Rosales has in the past claimed he was a member of the Latin Kings street gang but was not believed to be an active member at the time of his death, according to a source.


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