3.15.2007

Officers Down

Two auxiliary police officers were killed in the line of duty in Greenwich Village last night.

Two ordinary guys, one of whom is thought to be a writer in his other life. Two guys who just wanted to help people. Auxiliary officers don't carry guns; they don't arrest people; their job is to be eyes and ears, and make New York safer. They don't get paid. They do it just to be of service.

Most of us will scarcely notice other than to feel sad when we read the newspaper stories, or see it on tv. There are 8 million people here; 579 homicides annually. Two ordinary guys are a small percentage of the people here, even of the people who die.

These guys weren't the wrong guys in the wrong place. They weren't innocent bystanders. They were guys who rushed toward the sound of gunfire, not away. They probably saved countless lives because the man who killed them was carrying hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a lot of anger, and when he shot those guys, the armed cops responded in seconds.

Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo, it's a little late to say thanks but I'll say it nonetheless; thanks guys.

32 comments:

Alli said...

A special thank you to these brave men we never knew. My thoughts go ut to their families and friends who no doubt will miss them immensely.

Lin Neiswender said...

We would all do well to say thanks to those who put it on the line every day for us. Sometimes we forget and need a reminder.

takoda said...

Thank you for providing a way to remember these heroes.

We can do more to honor them. Let's try to make more positive connections in our lives. If each of us, just once a day, offers a smile or a comment or a compliment, we can connect to each other more as humans. With more in common instead of less.

Next time you're in line for groceries or a sandwich, make small talk. "The pastrami here is great!" or "Look at that cute baby over there."

You don't have to make the grand gesture to make this world a nicer place. But thank God for those who choose to when no-one else will.

Guy S. said...

Did this get national media attention? Thanks for posting as I hadn't heard about it. It's people like those two gentlemen who remind the rest of us namby-pamby whiners (I admit, I'm one of them) what it means to take action to make a better world. RIP fellas.

P.S., This also reminds us to reclaim the notion of what it means to be heroic.

Deschanel said...

As a New Yorker whose Dad was a cop, I'd like to say thanks to Miss Snark for her thoughtful post.

My dad was an Irish kid who spent 4 years in the US Army to get citizenship, and was plunked down as a beat cop in Harlem in 1961, still green as clover.

It was a tough city then, in a lot of ways tougher than now- but to this day my dad reminisces about the wonderful people he met, as well as the awful crimes he had to clean up. He told me later of the nightmares he had when a young kid was hit by a car; when he had to help fish a body out of the Harlem river (the arm came off while he was pulling it aboard), the awful desperation.

But he also had great tales , affectionately told, of the wonderful people he met in Harlem, good people. He was something of a curiousity as a cop- humorous and humane and genuinely interested in people. He still is.

I love his stories- meeting James Brown at the Apollo, where cops would "coop"- take a nap when they should be working; the fat lady stuck in the bathtub(a suction ploblem solved by olive oil and strong heave-ho). He helped give birth twice, on the floor of a bank and once in a taxicab. On a night of heavy violence in the city, a doc in an ER asked him if he ever stitched a soccer ball- Irish, of course he had- the doc had him stitch a guy's scalp up .

(Later he would work at the posher 17th precinct near the UN, where one of his frequent duties was delivering an intoxicated Truman Capote home to the UN Plaza. Dad loved Truman as a fellow "character"- Truman would burst into a cop bar in the E. 50's at 3 AM and go, "Bang, bang!!", his hands like guns...only later that I read Truman fancied working Irish guys..!)

The era that my father was "on the job" was fairly depicted in "Taxi Driver" and "Midnight Cowboy". A mephitic air, a sense of nihilism..quite different than today.

Thanks to Miss Snark for pointing out what a tough job it is, and showing by example that immense glamour is not incompatible with a big, noble, civic-minded heart.

Heatherlynne said...

Being a transcriber of parole hearings, I'm faced with this stuff on a daily basis. And still, hearing about it freezes my blood. Blessings on those who lose their lives so others may live.

I'm going to my altar to light two more candles...

S. W. Vaughn said...

Unbelievable.

Eugene and Nicholas, thank you. I'm naming characters after you.

People disgust me sometimes (like the guy with the gun here).

Anonymous said...

Amazing how these volunteers put their lives on the line for us. There's really no way to distinguish between regular police and these brave people, except they do not have guns. They didn't let that stand in the way of giving all.
Thank you, guys.

Kimber An said...

Thank you, Miss Snark. It seems to me in this day of high octane action movies that people forget what true heroism is all about - selfless acts of courage. Ordinary people putting the needs of others before their own. My prayers are with their families.

Kim Stagliano said...

Amen. I see their photos on the front page of the Times. God bless them and their families. And to the criminal? Vafancullo!

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for the family and friends of these men. My prayers are with them.
CJ

Joyce said...

My "day job" is as a civilian employee of a police dept. and I really appreciate your post. Although some of the guys I work with annoy me to no end, I would never hesitate to put my life in their hands. They are truly public servants.

Thanks for the reminder.

Ghost Girl said...

I have thought of these two men so much in the last couple of days. This morning, MSNBC ran the surveillance tapes that caught what happened. I wasn't expecting it, and wish I hadn't seen it, but it does show how real these things are and the risks that auxilliary policemen or many other men and women who run toward the danger face...just to make a difference. And they do make a difference.

I have friends in the auxilliary, and I pray for them and for the families of Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo as well as all those who risk their lives to make this a better, safer place.

Thank you, all of you.

Kate Thornton said...

Thanks so much, Miss Snark, for the reminder of how so many people put their lives on the line to do the right thing and make life better.

Nicholas & Eugene - thank you for your work and your sacrifice.

M. G. Tarquini said...

CNN Story.

There are no words for this.

Maprilynne said...

I think it is these silent heroes who truly are the best of humanity.

It's a terrible shame. I hope their families have lots of support.

God Bless Them.

Maprilynne

Colleen said...

I used to be a civilian member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and can attest to the immeasurable value auxilary officers give to the citizens of their communities. I know of some volunteers who put in regular shifts every week as if they were being paid. Very often, these same men and women are taken for granted and their work is unrecognized. This, in my opinion, makes the designation of "hero" all the more appropriate.

If anyone is interested in demonstrating their appreciation for auxiliaries, or the police in general, you may want to join in on the Police Day celebrations or ceremony in your area. Here, in Canada, it's in September. I think it's the same in the U.S.

At the RCMP ceremony the name of every fallen officer since the inauguration of the Force is read by the Commissioner. It is a very touching tribute to these men and women.

My heart goes out to the families of Nicholas and Eugene. I hope, particularly at this time, they are surrounded by people they love.

writtenwyrdd said...

I've been a cop. This outrages me.

Thank you for saying something, because I know a lot of people are thinking these guys were at fault for running toward the gunfire unarmed.

Well, sometimes you just gotta do the right thing and think of others before yourself.

Anonymous said...

I always believed that NYC cops had it tougher than we did in DC. Nothing has altered that belief. RIP guys.

Terry said...

I'm currently taking a Civilian Police Academy course through our local Sheriff's Office. I have a half-finished volunteer form. Time to fill in the other half.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this reminds me of the reports of our young soldiers dying every day in the Middle East. All senseless acts and therefore beyond understanding, but nonetheless heroic.

Demon Hunter said...

This is so sad. Nicholas was a writer whose book was going to be published soon. Eugene was from Russia and wanted to become a prosecutor. These were truly two modern-day heroes...

mai said...

Thank you for this.

BernardL said...

'Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo, it's a little late to say thanks but I'll say it nonetheless; thanks guys.'


Well said.

Kim said...

I come from a long line of Irish cops and firefighters - all out of Newark, NJ.

My heart goes out to their families, for what should have been, and for what never will be, and for two lives cut far too short. There are no words.... truly...

Except maybe thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad. Nicholas was 28; Eugene was only 19 years old - still in college!

Thank you for your kind words, Miss Snark.

BenW from PDX said...

It's especially great to see all these supportive comments when it seems all we hear about are the 'bad' cops....

Writer on Board said...

Thank you. Yes. Thank you.

Robert Billing said...

British cops usually aren't armed, but we do have "Special Constables" - the equivalent of auxiliaries.

I served about ten years in the Hampshire specials. One evening I was with two regular officers in a patrol car when we were called out to a suspect with a gun.

Everything went quiet. There were three of us, we could easily overpower him - but someone might not be going home. All the normal chat in the car stopped.

Then control came on the radio to say another unit had got the offender - without a shot being fired. The relief was like opening the gin on a hot day.

So I understand. I feel for you, and I churn it up inside me into writing.

Olga said...

Eugene Marshalik graduated from my high school in 2005. From the little I knew of him, running towards the sound of gunshots was exactly the kind of thing he would automatically do.
R.I.P., Eugene and Nicholas.

Kelly Buckter said...

Thank you for all these kind words. I am Nicholas Pekearo's sister and am devastated by what has happened. Our family takes some comfort in knowing that he died doing something he loved and at this point in his life, he was so happy, especially with a book possibly being published soon. He will always be a hero to me...I have seen comments that say characters will be named after him..please let me know if this happens.

Marshalik said...

Ms.Snark,
I am Eugene's brother and my family's thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. I am told that our brothers were friends. I believe that our brothers are at peace and hope that you too can find comfort in the fact that they were heroes. I know that I am very proud of their tremendous strength and courage, and hope that it has inspired the same in others. I would also like to thank all of the bloggers for their compassion. My family read this and your wonderful words have meant a lot to me and my family during a very difficult time.
Sincerely,
Max