NYPD report: Shooting of 2 auxiliary officers "minutes from being prevented"

By Rocco Parascandola
Newsday (New York) 
Read News Report: Officers fatally shot; NYPD says they helped avoid more bloodshed 03/16/2007
NEW YORK — In the sad tale of two police auxiliary officers slain in Greenwich Village two months ago, a heartbreaking twist has come to light. Gunman David Garvin was nearly shot by police before he opened fire on the first officer, Nicholas Pekearo, Newsday has learned.

New York City police officers salute as the coffin of auxiliary officer Nicholas Todd Pekearo, is given an inspector's funeral, Saturday, March 17, 2007, in New York. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
The chilling surveillance video that captured the bloodshed of March 14 - widely televised afterward - shows an officer firing at Garvin after the gunman had killed Pekearo and just before he took the life of Auxiliary Officer Eugene Marshalik.

It turns out, though, that at least one officer shot at Garvin just before Garvin fired at Pekearo, police sources said.

A review of an internal New York Police Department report obtained by Newsday shows that on that unseasonably warm night there were police all over the Village. Officers from the Sixth Precinct on patrol. Transit officers on the street. Brooklyn cops involved in a terrorism drill. Even narcotics cops doing a buy-and-bust.

Despite cops' quick response time - a sergeant and an officer got to Sullivan Street from the station house, almost three-quarters of a mile away, without encountering any traffic delays - it was Pekearo and Marshalik, armed with nothing more than their wits, who first came face-to-face with Garvin.

"It's almost impossible for anyone to get there any sooner," says one source with intimate knowledge of the shooting rampage. "There were cops everywhere, and they got there as quickly as possible."

By the time those police arrived, however, the key witness - himself in Greenwich Village that night only by accident - had followed the gunman from outside the initial shooting scene, at DeMarco's Pizzeria and Restaurant on West Houston Street, and pointed him out to Pekearo and Marshalik.

The witness, Eric P., 26, who spoke to Newsday on the condition that his last name not be used, had the impression that he was the only one fully aware of the seriousness of the unfolding violence.

That was not the case, according to police. Sgt. Thomas Liuzzo and Officers Nadirah Hannah and Andrew Stimus, all on patrol nearby, heard the shots and raced to DeMarco's. Diners there provided a description of Garvin, which Liuzzo put out on his police radio.

Hannah and Stimus, meanwhile, gave chase north on MacDougal Street, toward Bleecker Street. Too late. By that time, Garvin was chasing, catching and executing the two auxiliary officers.

But four, maybe five seconds, later, and this might not have happened.

Officers Arthur Leahy and Raquel Warburton, on foot and heading south on Sullivan from West Third Street, saw Garvin running toward them on Sullivan, the report says. He spotted the officers and reversed course, running south on Sullivan and heading directly at the pursuing Pekearo and Marshalik, who tried to take cover.

Leahy fired once at Garvin on Sullivan Street, and Warburton fired three times. Sources said there were shots fired at Garvin just as Pekearo tried in vain to take cover behind a parked car, but that near-miss was not captured on the surveillance video. The grainy video does show an officer firing at least one bullet at Garvin after he shot Pekearo but three seconds before he killed Marshalik.

Garvin would meet his end on Bleecker Street in a police fusillade as the auxiliary officers were being rushed to St. Vincent's Hospital.

Eric P., meanwhile, keeps playing the night over and over in his head.

He knows now - though he did not at the time - that Pekearo and Marshalik were unarmed. He knows that had he not pointed out the gunman to the two auxiliary cops, Garvin might have escaped or might have killed someone else. Still, he's burdened by regret, even though his friends have praised him for getting involved.

"I really put them on the spot," he said of Pekearo and Marshalik. "I really felt bad about doing that."

Matthew Nestel contributed to this column.

Pursuit in vain

Highlights of an NYPD report on its response to the March 14 shooting of a restaurant worker and two auxiliary officers:

1. Gunman David Garvin fatally shoots a worker at DeMarco's restaurant then flees. Police officers Thomas Liuzzo, Nadirah Hannah and Andrew Stimus respond. Two of them look for the gunman.

2. Auxiliary officers Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik spot and detain gunman, who escapes. Officers Arthur Leahy and Raquel Warburton, on patrol intercept and open fire. Gunman shoots kills Pekearo and Marshalik.

3. Warburton aids Marshalik as her partner chases gunman. Officers Brian Stickney and Ralph Pabon, performing a drill nearby, drive to scene. Ernest Leiper and his team, in a drug bust at the same corner, leave to give aid to Marshalik

4. Gunman enters Village Tannery, then exits. By now other officers have converged on scene. Police open fire, killing gunman. Other officers aid Pekearo. 

Matthew Nestel contributed to this column.
Copyright 2007 Newsday, Inc.

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