Contact: Albert O'Leary
The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) honored its police officers today (Thursday, Nov. 19) at its traditional “Finest of the Finest” awards luncheon. Thirty-five police officers, two sergeants and one lieutenant were cited for acts of heroism and bravery while facing guns and knives aimed at them and at innocent civilians and while rescuing accident victims from a flaming automobile.
PBA President Pat Lynch hosted the 1 p.m. luncheon at Manhattan’s Water Club, 30th St. and the East River Drive.
Lynch, who presented each honoree with a commemorative plaque, said: “Of all the recognition our members receive, these mean the most to them because they have been judged by their peers – other police officers. This makes them special.”
Below is a list of all the honorees and descriptions of the incidents for which they were recognized.
Police Officers Joseph Whiteman and Joseph Rodriguez of PSA #3 are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Life of a Fellow Police Officer in an Exchange of Gunfire With an Armed Assailant.
These officers observed a man, who had already fired some shots, running with his hand on a gun in his waistband. Yelling “police, don’t move,” they chased the gunman into the doorway of a building. He turned the weapon on them and Officer Whiteman fired one round, which caused the perp to fall to the ground. Officer Rodriguez secured the gunman’s weapon and both officers made the arrest without further incident.
Police Officers Nicholas Colucci, Shawn Nandkisure and Sergeant Michael Raso of PSA #5 are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Lives of Fellow Police Officers in an Exchange of Gunfire With an Armed Assailant.
While on routine motor patrol, these officers and the sergeant responded to a witness who told them another man was carrying a gun. When they got out of the car, they spotted the gunman in the center of a courtyard about 20 yards away. They exchanged gunfire with the perp, with nobody getting hit, and then chased the man, Officer Colluci and Sergeant Raso on foot and Officer Nandkisure behind the wheel. They cornered the suspect and disarmed and collared him without further incident.
Police Officers Eric Jackson, Mark Hunter and Paul O’Connor of the 69 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Lives of Fellow Police Officers in a Violent Confrontation With a Knife-Wielding Emotionally Disturbed Person.
A call about a violent EDP brought these officers to a basement apartment with a bedroom in the rear. As they searched the place, the emotionally disturbed woman emerged from the bedroom waving a knife, like Norman Bates in “Psycho.” Ignoring the officers’ shouts to drop the weapon, she slashed at Officer O’Connor, cutting his hands and threatening him again. Officers Jackson and Hunter fired off several rounds, fatally wounding the assailant. Officer O’Connor, seriously wounded, disarmed the woman as she fell.
Police Officers Fredric Daughtry and Zahid Mehmood of the 67 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives, the Life of a Fellow Police Officer and the Lives of Civilian Crime Victims in a Confrontation With an Armed Robber.
These officers responded to the report of a robbery at a daycare center filled with children. They didn’t know it at first but three perps were involved, one of them armed with a Glock. They collared one of them outside the place but had to exchange gunfire with another one and chase down a third before apprehending all three. They ended up with three suspects in tow – one of them wounded by gunshots – and the daycare workers and 21 children all safe.
Police Officer Michael Falcione of the 52 Pct. is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend His Life, the Life of a Fellow Police Officer and the Lives of Innocent Bystanders in a Confrontation With a Bat-Wielding Suspect.
Responding to a report of a fight involving a loaded weapon, this officer instead found an unruly crowd in a hallway and an enraged man swinging a baseball bat. The officer ordered the man to “freeze” and to drop that bat but, instead, he turned sideways, lifted the bat and came at the officer. The officer took a step back but – to save himself from death or serious injury – was forced to open fire, killing the assailant.
Police Officer Craig Emhardt, Police Officer Sheldon Smith and Lieutenant Thomas Slattery of Bronx Street Crime are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives, the Life of a Fellow Police Officer and the Lives of Innocent Bystanders in a Confrontation With an Armed Assailant.
On routine anti-crime patrol, these officers spotted a man who appeared to be holding a gun in his waistband. They got out of the car, identified themselves and ordered the man to stop but he ran instead. After a long chase on foot, they cornered the suspect, who drew his weapon and pointed it at them. Officer Emhardt stopped the threat with three rounds from his service weapon, putting the suspect in critical condition.
Police Officers Reggie Tapia, Brian MacMurray, Derreck Edouard and Emilio Estevez of the 41 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Lives of Fellow Police Officers and Innocent Bystanders in an Exchange of Gunfire With an Armed Assailant.
Responding to several witnesses reporting a man with a gun, these officers spotted the suspect and gave him several opportunities to drop the weapon. Instead, the suspect opened fire from behind cover, and the officers returned the compliment. The cops won the gun battle and the suspect was DOA.
Police Officer Gabriel Larsen of Transit District One is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Intelligent Action Taken to Rescue a Stabbing Victim and His Companion From the Clutches of a Knife-Wielding Robber.
This incident began when a robber armed with a large kitchen knife approached two out-of-towners – a man and a woman – who were having a pre-dawn cigarette on a Central Park bench. The robber demanded their cash and cell phones and the man resisted, getting his legs knifed for his trouble. Alerted by a witness, Officer Larsen cautiously entered the park and saw the perp clutching his knife between his legs while seated on the bench next to the victims. Pointing his service weapon at the suspect, Officer Larsen instructed him to drop his weapon. The suspect complied and was arrested without further incident.
Police Officers David Soto and Melissa Cardoza and Sergeant Robert Coyne of Transit District 12 are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Lives of Fellow Police Officers and Innocent Bystanders Without Firing Their Weapons While Apprehending an Armed and Dangerous Felon.
These officers and this sergeant, assigned to anti-crime, saw the suspect discharge multiple rounds from a 357 Magnum at a group of men running down the street. The officers immediately gave chase and the perp opened fire at the group again. He then dropped the firearm, which he had wrapped in a plastic bag, to the sidewalk and continued running. They caught up with him eventually and collared him, recovering 15 slabs of crack-cocaine from his pants pocket.
Police Officers Kenneth Fuchs and Micah Adler of the 19th Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Life of a Fellow Police Officer in a Life-and-Death Confrontation With an Knife-Wielding Emotionally Disturbed Assailant.
These officers were approached by a woman who was fleeing the apartment she shared with an abusive man with a history of bipolar disorder. She had to return for some clothes, she told them, and wanted them to accompany her. When they got there, the man at first refused to come out. Then, without warning, he burst out of the apartment with a 13-inch knife raised over his head. After issuing several warnings to drop the weapon, the EDP closed to within three feet of the officers, one of whom were forced to fire, killing him with a single shot. It appeared to be a case of “suicide by cop.”
Police Officer James Connolly of Manhattan North Narcotics is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken While Engaged in an Undercover Buy-and-Bust to Defend His Life Against an Armed Drug Dealer.
This officer, working an undercover buy-and-bust, refused to buy five grams of cocaine because he believed the drugs were fake. The dealer tried to lure the undercover into a building vestibule but the cop wasn’t buying it. So the dealer pointed a .38-caliber revolver at him and demanded the cash. This officer produced the pre-recorded buy money but at the same time he stuck his right hand into his front jacket pocket, turned slightly and fired three shots through his jacket at the perp, using his authorized Glock. Each bullet found its mark. The suspect fled, then collapsed and was arrested.
Police Officer Qidong Yu of the 109 Pct. is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend His Life and the Lives of Fellow Police Officers in a Confrontation With a Man Who Had Entered a Stationhouse With a Knife in His Hand and Murder on His Mind.
The suspect in this incident was so deranged that he stabbed an innocent bystander right outside the 109 Precinct and then ran into the stationhouse and tried to attack another civilian inside. Then he began chasing cops around waving the knife. Officers yelled for the suspect to drop the weapon but he lunged at them instead. This officer and other members of the service opened fire, and the suspect was wounded and arrested.
Police Officers James Alexander and Edward Raniola of the 109 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Intelligent Action Taken in a Struggle to Apprehend a Man With a Knife Who Had Stabbed Several Victims.
This incident began when demented man with a knife punched a stranger for no reason then stabbed a married couple in their 70’s outside their apartment building for no apparent reason. He then stabbed a third victim. These officers were alerted to the mayhem by the man who was punched and, after a search, they found him knife in hand. The officers took a tactical position and ordered the suspect to drop the knife. He did but then he began fight with the officers with his fists. They subdued and arrested him.
Police Officers Marisa Wykoff and Matthew Kwiecinski of the Queens North Task Force are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave, Resourceful and Intelligent Action Taken to Save the Lives of Three People Trapped in a Burning Automobile.
These officers were notified by a motorist of an overturned vehicle on the Grand Central Parkway. When they got to the scene, they saw the car, overturned on its passenger side with flames from the engine enveloping the passenger compartment. After using the NYPD fire extinguisher to slow the fire’s progress, they managed to turn the vehicle upright, cut the occupants’ seat belts and get all four occupants out of the blazing automobile. One was pronounced dead at the scene but, thanks to the swift and heroic actions of these officers, the other three survived.
Police Officers Pete Hamilton and Vic Ramjaiwan of the 105 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend His Life and the Life of a Fellow Police Officer in an Exchange of Gunfire With an Armed Assailant.
Responding to a report of a firearm, these officers spotted the suspect, took cover and, after being fired upon, engaged in a gun battle with the perp. The suspect then fled and the officers chased him on foot into a driveway and rear yard. After taking cover and securing a perimeter, they saw the suspect walking down the driveway and were able to apprehend him without further incident.
Police Officers Christopher Savage, Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Hickey of the 77 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Lives of Fellow Police Officers in a Confrontation With an Armed Assailant.
Responding to a report of a computer burglary in a hospital that had been closed for several years, these officers were greeted instead by a witness who reported that there was a crazy female inside armed with an axe. When they found her they discovered she was armed all right, but with two pistols, which she pointed at the officers. After ignoring numerous demands to drop the guns, she emerged and pointed the weapons at them again. The officers got off two or three rounds hitting her and causing the suspect to retreat. But she emerged waving the pistols once more and they again had to fire at her. Finally, she was apprehended without further incident.
Police Officer Nadin Perez of the 14th Pct. is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken While Off Duty to Defend His Wife’s Life in a Confrontation With an Armed Robber.
Officer Perez was off duty and at home with his wife when the couple was confronted by a robber who pulled a gun on them. The officer exchanged gunfire with the assailant who was hit and then fled the scene. He was apprehended later lying on the ground outside a residence known to the department. He was suffering from a single gunshot wound. He was pronounced DOA at the hospital.