Video shows NYPD officers trying to flee a determined killer
By Rocco Parascandola
NEW YORK — David Garvin was ready to die in cold blood — and to take others with him.
A chilling surveillance videotape released by police yesterday shows the dishonorably discharged Marine confronting, pursuing and shooting two auxiliary police officers on Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village on Wednesday night.
The video images are a bit blurry, the movements of gunman and officers rather jerky, and the nighttime shadings a spooky study of gray and glaring light.
But any viewer can see that Garvin hunts down each of the unarmed auxiliary officers, in turn, as they scramble for cover.
"He was heavily armed and prepared to kill at will," a grim-faced Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at an afternoon news conference yesterday, less than 24 hours after Garvin, 42, in quick succession killed pizzeria worker Alfred Romero and auxiliary officers Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik.
"The fact more lives were not lost was due in no small measure to auxiliary officers Pekearo and Marshalik," Kelly said.
"I think these are true heroes."
Kelly dismissed any suggestions the officers should have assumed a less aggressive posture.
Both auxiliary officers — who like all of the city's 4,500 auxiliaries were unarmed volunteers — will be accorded funerals with full police honors.
The stunning eruption of gunfire, which took place over several blocks, cut short the lives and dreams of Romero, 35, a Mexican immigrant living in Sunnyside and eking out a living as a waiter and bartender in a struggling restaurant; Pekearo, 28, an aspiring writer who recently penned a book that caught the attention of a major publishing house; and Marshalik, 19, a Russian immigrant attending New York University and hoping to become a prosecutor.
The chain of violence began at about 9:20 p.m., when Garvin, wearing a fake beard, stepped into DeMarco's Pizzeria & Restaurant on West Houston Street, police said. With him he carried a bag, which police later learned contained a 9-mm semiautomatic, a .380-caliber automatic and 135 rounds of ammunition.
While police are not certain why Garvinkilled Romero, Kelly said Garvin had been asked to leave the restaurant on at least two previous occasions.
Police sources also said the January dismissal of another worker — a friend of Garvin — had angered Garvin because he believed Romero was responsible.
Police gave the following account of events, which Kelly said unfolded in four to five minutes:
Wednesday night at DeMarco's, Romero recognized Garvin through the disguise and Romero's hands started shaking. The two exchanged words, and Garvin pulled out the 9-mm semiautomatic and shot Romero 15 times, police said.
Garvin tore off the fake beard and fled. A customer tried in vain to save Romero with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Police nearby heard the shots and raced to the scene. A sergeant questioned patrons and broadcast Garvin's description on his radio — the description that Pekearo and Marshalik would hear.
The two auxiliaries confronted Garvin at Sullivan and Bleecker streets and told him to drop his bag. Garvin did, Kelly said, but then punched Marshalik.
Garvin ran off, and the pair chased him along Sullivan Street. What happened next was captured on the surveillance video, the release of which was approved by the officers' families, Kelly said.
It shows Garvin chasing down Pekearo as he desperately tries to hide behind a parked car.
Garvin fires in three spurts, the video shows — once from a few feet away, once as he stands over the prone Pekearo, and once as he continues to run by him. Scott Jenkins, 34, was in his Sullivan Street apartment when his brother looked out the window and saw Pekearo "literally on his hands and knees."
"[The gunman] came diagonally across the street to the sidewalk and shot him in the head," Jenkins said.
"It was not self-defense or any of that."
Next, the video shows Garvin hunting down Marshalik, who is farther up the block and, like his partner, frantically seeking cover. Garvin fires once, shooting Marshalik in the head.
By that time, police were converging in droves on the scene.
The gunman had no arrest record, police said. It appears he had no documented mental history, but those who know him have said he was increasingly paranoid, agitated and angry, according to police sources. Yesterday, police recovered from the Bronx apartment a loaded .357 Magnum and about 100 rounds of ammunition, Kelly said.
Kelly said Garvin was born and schooled in Missouri, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. Garvin's resume indicated he had worked several newspaper jobs.
In October, Garvin moved to the Bronx. Earlier this month, police sources said, Garvin moved to a Greenwich Village apartment where he lived with his girlfriend.
Copyright 2007 Newsday, Inc.
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