The NYPD is in mourning after 19-year veteran Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo was killed in the line of duty Friday afternoon and another sergeant was shot in the leg.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini called Tuozzolo a hero. “It’s law enforcement that stands in between our communities and the criminals, and each and every day we have to do our best to support our law enforcement,” he said.
The New York Police Department on Friday posted on Twitter that Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo “was shot and killed while doing his job.” The injured officer, Sgt. Emmanuel Kwo, is in stable condition after the shooting, according to the department. He had been shot in the leg.
“It is with tremendous sorrow that I inform you of the murder of Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said at a press conference Friday evening, adding that he spoke with the family of the officer, who was a 19-year veteran of the NYPD and a married father.
“The city is in mourning,” de Blasio said.
The department detailed the shooting on its Twitter feed, writing that the fatal encounter occurred after a woman called emergency responders on Friday afternoon and said an armed man broke into her Bronx apartment.
Dispatch told police who were responding to the scene that the suspect fled in a red vehicle. That car was spotted by a marked NYPD vehicle.
As officers approached, the suspect, Manuel Rosales, opened fire, according to NYPD. The suspect was hit when officers returned fire, and two sergeants were hit in the exchange of bullets.
After the shooting, the officers were brought to Jacobi Medical Center, a hospital in the Bronx, according to a spokeswoman for the police department.
The shooting occurred less than two days after a lone attacker in Iowa gunned down two police officers there in separate ambush attacks early Wednesday.
Those attacks in Iowa came during a year that has seen the number of police officers shot and killed in the line of duty increase over last year, prompting unease from law enforcement, particularly after deadly ambushes in Dallas and Baton Rouge over the summer.
The last time a police officer was fatally shot in New York was Officer Randolph Holder, 33. He was shot and killed in October 2015 during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect after police responded to a call about shots fired in the East Harlem area.
Holder was the fourth officer killed by gunfire in less than a year. Earlier that year, Officer Brian Moore was fatally shot in what prosecutors called an “assassination.” In December 2014, two New York police officers sitting in their squad car were gunned down in what authorities said was an “execution-style” ambush.
On Thursday night, the estranged wife of Rosales, 35, called 911 to report that he was sitting in a red Jeep outside of her apartment on Beach Avenue in the Van Nest section of the Bronx, police said. She told police Rosales had previously threatened to kill her.
When officers arrived, Rosales was gone.
On Friday, Rosales went back to the apartment, armed with a gun, and forced his way inside, sources said. Rosales’ 29-year-old estranged wife, their 3-year-old son and another 13-year-old child were home at the time, along with the estranged wife’s 50-year-old mother, who called 911, saying Rosales had returned in his red Jeep, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said.
The call went out over radio dispatch and patrol units from the 43rd Precinct responded, but Rosales had fled by the time police arrived at the apartment, O’Neill said.
Around 2:52 p.m., officers in a marked patrol car spotted the red Jeep at Noble and Bronx River avenues – about half a mile away. Four officers approached the vehicle at 1575 Bronx River Ave., and Rosales opened fire with a .35-caliber semiautomatic handgun, O’Neill said.
A preliminary investigation indicated that Rosales had 17 prior arrests in Suffolk County, where he was believed to be living.
Tuozzolo had been with the NYPD since 1997 and was just one year shy of being able to retire. He was the father of two young boys ages 3 and 4.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Mark Berman