The New York Police Department, fellow officers, local elected officials and countless community members from throughout the region mourned the loss of NYPD Sgt. Paul J. Tuozzolo Saturday, who was gunned down in the line of duty Friday afternoon by an ex-con from Brentwood.
Tuozzolo, 41, a father of two and 19-year police veteran from Huntington, was fatally shot in the head Friday by 35-year-old Manuel Rosales, of Brentwood, while responding to reports of an armed home invasion at the residence of Rosales’ estranged wife in the Bronx, according to police.
Rosales opened fire at approximately 2:45 p.m. Friday following a pursuit by Tuozzolo and other officers after Rosales fled in a red Jeep, police said. A second NYPD sergeant, Emmanuel Kwo, 30, a nine-year veteran of the department, had been shot in the leg by Rosales and was released from Jacobi Medical Center Saturday morning.
NYS Corrections Department records detail multiple felonies throughout the years for Rosales, ranging from criminal possession of stolen property to assault and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle—with more than a dozen arrests in Suffolk, according to reports. Rosales was killed in a subsequent shootout with police Friday.
An outpouring of support for Tuozzolo and Kwo—who were both based out of the department’s 43rd Precinct—flooded social media Friday night and Saturday, with fellow NYPD officers, brass, elected officials, and countless members of the public sending prayers and well-wishes for the officers and their families. A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Huntington Village Saturday afternoon.
“As we place mourning bands on the shields that sit over our hearts and purple and black bunting hangs on the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx we ask you take a moment to remember Sergeant Paul J. Tuozzolo,” the NYPD posted on Facebook. “Sergeant Tuozzolo was shot and killed as he went into harm’s way to protect the people of NYC, something your NYPD cops do everyday. Please say a prayer for him, for the family he left behind, and join us in our vow to never forget.”
“#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 P. O’Neill, along with a photo of the slain officer.
“NYC & the NYPD family are in mourning tonight. We’ve lost a good and devoted man, who committed his life to protecting us,” tweeted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who ordered flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Tuozzolo.
“Our hearts go out” to Tuozzolo’s family, Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President James Carver said in a statement, calling the Huntington resident “a neighbor as well as a law enforcement brother,” and continuing that his death and the wounding of Kwo “saddens their brother and sister police officers in Nassau County and throughout the nation.
“This incident again illustrates for the public the dangerous duty undertaken by police officers every day,” he added. “It is a sad day for law enforcement.”
Friends and neighbors of Tuozzolo described him as a caring family man devoted to his wife and two young children.
“Great guy, good family man, great person, great neighbor, you know, he was a great guy,” one neighbor, Donny Clark told ABC7. “I know he has two little kids and they are young so, they are going to be traumatized for the rest of their lives, it’s so sad.”
Tuozzolo is the latest NYPD officer to be killed in the line of duty since 33-year-old Det. Randolph A. Holder was fatally shot in the head while pursuing a suspect on Oct. 20, 2015, according to Officer Down Memorial Page, which records law enforcement deaths throughout the country. In May of that year, the department lost 25-year-old Officer Brian Moore, of Massapequa, who was fatally shot in the head while sitting in his unmarked police car in Queens Village. The five-year NYPD veteran’s murder was preceded by the fatal December 2014 ambush of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, while in their patrol car in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Tuozzolo’s slaying comes during a year that’s witnessed a 78-percent spike in shooting deaths of police and an increase in fatal “ambush-style” attacks—such as a July ambush in Dallas that killed five officers and another 10 days later in Baton Rouge, La. that killed three—according to a mid-year analysis of law enforcement fatalities by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Main Art: NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, of Huntington, was killed in the line of duty by an ex-con from Brentwood on Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: NYPD Facebook profile)