09/30/2007

NYPD officer fatally shot; fiance questioned

Newsday

BAY SHORE, N.Y. — A New York City police officer was found shot to death early yesterday in the Bay Shore home she shared with her police officer fiance, according to Suffolk police.

Sonia Garcia, a mother and four-year veteran of the NYPD, was killed by a single gunshot to the chest sometime before 6 a.m. when Suffolk police responded to a 911 call. That call, police said, was made by Garcia's fiance, identified by NYPD sources as Alexis Chaparro, an NYPD academy teacher.

"He said he heard a shot and found his wife dead from a single gunshot wound," said Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick of the Suffolk homicide squad. Garcia's body was found in a bedroom of the single-story house, and the couple were alone when Garcia died.

Fitzpatrick declined to say if a weapon was found or elaborate on the fiance's explanation of events. "We don't believe it was a suicide," Fitzpatrick said.

Suffolk detectives questioned the fiance for several hours yesterday. He has not been charged. "We're still seeing how well his story and the evidence at the scene match up," Fitzpatrick said.

Garcia, 28, was assigned to the 77th Precinct in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, where she worked in a unit assigned to protect schools, according to a city police source who knew both Garcia and Chaparro. Many officers there were in tears yesterday as news of Garcia's death circulated.

"She was well liked, a real sweet kid," the source said.

Chaparro, 27, who previously worked at the 77th Precinct, now teaches tactics at the NYPD academy. Chaparro, who joined the force at the same time as Garcia, also is a member of the NYPD boxing team.

Neighbors along Ackerson Boulevard, a quiet Bay Shore street popular with young families, also expressed shock and sadness at the death. Annette Pache, a Suffolk County 911 operator who grew up in the house where Garcia died, said she met the couple late last year when she decided to sell the house. She described Garcia, who had two young daughters from a previous relationship, as bubbly and talkative, and called Chaparro "a gentleman."

"They seemed like a very nice young couple," Pache said. "We felt very, very good about selling the house to them."

Family members of both officers could not be reached for comment.

Staff writers Christina Hernandez and Rocco Parascandola contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 Newsday

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