Suffolk neighbors praise wounded officers

Pete Micciche, 81, a Smithtown neighbor of NYPD

Pete Micciche, 81, a Smithtown neighbor of NYPD Captain Alfonso Pizzano, reacts to the news of Pizzano's shooting. (April 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

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Two NYPD officers shot in Brooklyn early Sunday have been role models, mentors and ideal neighbors for years, residents of their Suffolk County communities said.

Capt. Al Pizzano, 45, who sustained a grazing bullet wound to the face, was idolized by a neighbor's son in Smithtown. Officer Matthew Granahan, 35, who was shot in his left leg, spent his time off playing with his children and dog in Nesconset.

They were two of four members of the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit who were shot after a confrontation that began Saturday night when a man barricaded himself in his Brooklyn apartment, police said. Pizzano and Granahan went home Sunday; the other two officers remained hospitalized Sunday.

Family members at both men's homes declined to comment on the shooting.

Pizzano and his wife, Maureen, moved into the Smithtown neighborhood in 1991 around the same time as Rose Marie and Jimmy Hodges did. The Hodges' son Johnny, 30, also an NYPD officer, has idolized Pizzano since he was a boy, said Rose Marie Hodges, 51. "Johnny always looked up to him," and, as a teen, used to wander down the block to seek Pizzano's advice about becoming a cop, she said.

"I'm very proud that my son has followed in his footsteps," Rose Marie Hodges said, adding that the couple heard about the shootout on the news but had no idea Pizzano was involved. "We're so glad he's OK."

Bryan Rondi, 26, who lives on the same street, said Pizzano was his mentor when he considered applying to the NYPD Police Academy. "It's very shocking when it hits close to home," said Rondi, an emergency medical technician in Medford.

In Nesconset, neighbor Stephanie Inzerillo described Granahan as a friendly man who spends a lot of time walking the family dog and playing with his three young children.

"He's a great guy, very family-oriented. Always playing with the kids," she said. "He's someone you'd love to have as a neighbor."

She said Granahan is often seen playing basketball with his kids, supervising them on their bikes and walking them to the bus stop before school.

"They're a nice family," she said of Granahan and his wife. "I hope he's going to be OK." With Patrick Whittle

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