NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Forty years ago, in one of the city’s most notorious cold case murders, two young police officers were brutally gunned down. A sergeant at the time, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly responded to the scene and is still haunted by the killings.READ MORE: Gabby Petito's Family Speaks Publicly For 1st Time Since Her Body Was Found: 'We Can't Let Her Name Be Taken In Vain'
During an exclusive interview with CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson, Commissioner Kelly spoke candidly about his personal connection to the case and said that he will not give up the search for the killer.
Four decades ago Kelly was a young sergeant arriving on the scene of a horrific crime, the virtual execution of two fellow police officers. Three suspects shot officers Rocco Laurie and Gregory Foster in the back. They then took the officers guns and shot them again and again.
“It was particularly brutal and nonsensical. I remember blood on the ground. They had no way to defend themselves at all,” Kelly said.
The savage nature and the senselessness of the crime shocked the community and the NYPD. Decades later, it still resonates with Commissioner Kelly.
“I would say this one affected me more than many others,” Kelly said.
In addition to being cops, Kelly and the two slain officers shared another bond; all three had been Marines.
“They had been in Vietnam, I had been in Vietnam, so there was a certain bonding,” he said.
Laurie’s widow, Adelaide, told CBS 2 that she will never forget the horror of that night.
“I just kept praying, I just kept praying. I just kept saying ‘don’t let this be real.’ You know, I thought he was so strong,” she said.
Adelaide said that she applauds Commissioner Kelly’s efforts to keep the case alive.
“It will never bring my husband back, but in many ways it will make me feel as though he didn’t die in vain,” she said.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
For Rocco Laurie’s family, the shooting was earth shattering.
“It was really awful, really, really awful. It changed everything,” Anthony Laurie said.
It also changed everything for the Foster family. Gregory Jr. was only a toddler when his father was murdered on the street. The slain officer’s mother, who recently passed away, never fully recovered.
“It destroyed her. They killed him, but they destroyed her slowly,” Gregory Jr. said.
Now, Gregory Jr. said he wants justice.
“For my mother’s sake and for his sake, his soul, I just want this case solved,” he said.
That just may happen. Commissioner Kelly told CBS 2 that this cold case has recently gotten warmer.
“There is an outstanding suspect, and that investigation, looking at the individual, is continuing. We’ll see. We hope so. We’re not gonna forget this case,” Kelly said.
“I just know that they are not going to let this go. They’re not going to let what happened to Greg and Rocco be forgotten. Never. [It’s] never going to be forgotten,” Adelaide added.
Two other men that police believe were involved in the murders were killed in unrelated shootouts.
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