HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds gathered at a wake on Long Island for NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, who was killed in the line of duty during a shootout in the Bronx earlier this month.
Sgt. Tuozzolo’s wake is being held Wednesday afternoon and evening at Chapey And Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage, Long Island.
He was “one of the good guys,” say those who revered Tuozzolo, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“Always a great person, phenomenal supervisor, leader, qualities that we in the police department seek so often,” said NYPD Inspector Fausto Pichardo.
Fellow officer James Hasper remembered his friend as “the greatest guy in the world.”
Tributes and memorials have been held since Friday, when the avid fisherman and Bayville native was killed in a gunfight in the Bronx.
After working as a domestic violence officer in Manhattan and Harlem, the low keyed sergeant asked to be put back on patrol.
Sgt. Tuozzolo, Sgt. Emmanuel Kwo and a rookie officer were responding to a 911 domestic call near the Bronx Zoo when they approached a car matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle.
The driver, Manuel Rosales, 35, opened fire on the officers, hitting Sgt. Tuozzolo in the head, authorities said.
Rosales was killed when the officers returned fire.
“We told his wife, his mother, his father that the NYPD would be with them for their family as long as they need help for years and years to come,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Tuozzolo’s Huntington neighbors expressed shock and anguish.
“I mean he has two little kids, nobody wants to go through this, those kids are going to be traumatized for the rest of their life, it is sad,” Danny Clarke, a neighbor, said.
Members of the NYPD community gathered together on Monday to mourn the loss of their fallen colleague.
“In the final moments of his life he dedicated it to saving someone else and taking someone really violent off the streets,” SBA President, Ed Mullins said.
Sgt. Tuozzolo served for 19 years and could have retired in less than one year.
“He died trying to protect us, that’s exactly what he did and we are here to support his family,” civilian colleague Christine Jordan said.
Rosales, 35, had been arrested at least 17 times before he opened fire from his SUV. Over the weekend, the killer’s estranged wife expressed her sickness over the incident on social media while blasting Suffolk County officials who let the career criminal walk free.
“If anyone is truly to blame for this tragedy, I blame Suffolk County District Court and the judge who let him walk out of there knowing he was in mental distress, knowing he needed immediate psychiatric care,” she wrote.
A funeral for Tuozzolo will be held on Thursday in Massapequa.