NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An NYPD sergeant has died and another is in serious condition after being shot in the Bronx Friday afternoon.
Killed in the shooting was NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The sergeant who survived was identified as Sgt. Emmanuel Kwo.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said around 2:45 p.m., a woman called a 911 to report that a man had broken into her apartment on Beach Avenue in the Van Nest section of the Bronx.
The call went over radio dispatch and patrol units from the 43rd Precinct responded, but the suspect had fled by the time police arrived at the apartment, O’Neill said.
Around 2:52 p.m., officers in a marked patrol car found the suspect’s vehicle found at Noble and Bronx River avenues – about half a mile from the site of the initial call, O’Neill said.
Officers approached the vehicle at 1575 Bronx River Ave., and when they did, the suspect – identified as Manuel Rosales, 35 — opened fire with a .35-caliber semiautomatic handgun, O’Neill said. The two sergeants were struck.
“I actually thought they were fireworks,” one woman said.
“They were rapid succession, eight or nine shots,” said neighbor Miguel Pino.
There were four other officers at the scene, sources said. Two officers returned fire, one of them a 25-year-old male recruit who had yet to graduate from the academy and was in his third day of in-field training, police sources told CBS2.
The recruit was conducting part of his three-day field training as part of his academy studies and was patrolling with one of the two sergeants when they spotted the Jeep and boxed it in, police sources said.
Two officers, one of them the trainee, fired as many as 20 shots at Rosales, sources said.
Rosales was pronounced dead at the scene, O’Neill said.
Sgt. Tuozzolo was struck in the head, while Sgt. Kwo was struck in the leg, O’Neill said. Both rushed to Jacobi Medical Center, where Tuozzolo was later pronounced dead and Kwo was being treated.
Kwo’s condition was reported to be stable.
Police late Friday released a photo of the gun they said Rosales used.
O’Neill said suspect Rosales’ estranged wife lived in an apartment nearby on Beach Avenue. Earlier today, Rosales forcibly entered the apartment while armed with a gun, O’Neill said.
Present at the time were Rosales’ 29-year-old estranged wife, their 3-year-old son, another 13-year-old child, and a 50-year-old woman who was the original 911 caller, O’Neill said. The woman who made the call was identified as Rosales’ estranged wife’s mother, sources said.
Police sources said Rosales’ estranged wife had seen him sitting in his red Jeep outside her building on Thursday night and had called police out of fear. He had also threatened to kill on Thursday, sources said.
A preliminary investigation indicates that Rosales had 15 prior arrest in Suffolk County, where he was believed to be living. Further investigation of his background was under way early Friday evening.
Mayor de Blasio said he and O’Neill had to break the news to Tuozzolo’s wife, mother and father.
“The city is in mourning, and the family of the NYPD is in mourning, and in particular all the men and women of the 4-3 Precinct right now with the loss of a very good man; a devoted man; a man who committed his life to protecting all of us,” de Blasio said.
Tuozzolo had been with the NYPD since 1997 and was 41 years old, the mayor said. He was the father of two young children — boys ages 3 and 4.
Sources said Kwo, 30, has been with the NYPD since 2007, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
Following the shooting, de Blasio arrived at the hospital by helicopter, CBS2’s Conybeare reported. Distraught officers were seen running up the stairs.
“I always talk about what a great job this is, but there’s nothing worse than a day like today,” O’Neill said.
The mayor pledged that the city will help Tuozzolo’s family in any way possible.
“We told his wife his mother his father that the NYPD would be with them for their family for as long as they need help for years and years to come,” de Blasio said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement following the shooting.
“Every day, the brave men and women of law enforcement selflessly serve our communities to keep the rest of us safe. Today, a sergeant in the New York City Police Department has made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, and another officer is undergoing treatment,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “My deepest sympathies are with the families of the officers involved in today’s tragedy in the Bronx, and with Commissioner O’Neill and the NYPD as they cope with the loss of one of their own.”
Area residents expressed shock and outrage.
“It’s someone friend, child, son, brother, it’s nerve wracking,” said resident Demetra Savelids. “This usually doesn’t happen here, so it’s a little nerve wracking for a Friday afternoon.”
“It looks like it’s a war going on lately every day,” said resident Maria Sanchez. “We don’t have no peace in this area. These parents aren’t doing their job.”
Meanwhile late Friday, Suffolk County police blocked off the street outside Tuozzolo’s well-kept yellow house where neighbors were left in shock.
Danny Clarke has lived next door to Sgt. Tuozzolo. He called the sergeant “a great guy.”
Clarke’s family for six years calling him a wonderful neighbor and dedicated father.
“I mean, he has two little kids. Nobody wants to go through this,” Clarke said. “Those kids are going to be traumatized for the rest of their life. it’s sad, you know?”
The entire neighborhood was shut down as police investigate late Friday night. Meanwhile, somber officers stood at attention outside the 43rd Precinct, with the harsh reality of the job sinking in once again.