Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, a 41-year-old NYPD officer from Greenlawn was shot and killed while another officer was wounded during a shootout in the Van Nest section of the Bronx on Friday afternoon which left the suspect dead, officials said.Photo Credit: NYPD
Paul Tuozzolo was unassuming, but there was no doubt the NYPD sergeant from Huntington was devoted both to his family and protecting the public, those who knew him said.
“He was a good guy, a family man,” said a neighbor, Danny Clarke. “A good person, a decent human being. It’s so sad to hear his life was taken like that.”
Tuozzolo, 41, who was married with two young children, was shot and killed in a shootout with an armed suspect Friday afternoon in the Bronx.
The slain officer’s friends, neighbors and NYPD comrades mourned the loss of the friendly man with the cheerful smile.
One of Tuozzolo’s former high school teachers was shaken for his parents, who still live in the community. Tuozzolo’s mother is battling cancer.
“He was such a nice boy,” said Beatrice Rupp of Bayville, now retired. “He came from such a nice family.”
Tuozzolo grew up in Bayville. Several years ago, he and his wife moved to Huntington, where they were raising their two sons, both under age 5, friends said.
The officer, a 19-year NYPD veteran, spent the last 10 years in the Bronx, the department said.
At a news conference, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed Tuozzolo as “a longtime and devoted member of the 43rd Precinct and a loving father of two young children.”
Bill Urban, 73, of Bayville, said Tuozzolo grew up in the house next door.
“Nice family,” Urban said. “I can’t believe it. Man alive.”
Urban, who said he does not know the family well, said Tuozzolo, his wife and their children often returned to the neighborhood to visit his parents.
“I saw them almost all summer,” he said.
Tuozzolo family members could not be reached for comment.
In front of Tuozzolo’s three-story, cream-colored home in Huntington, four Suffolk police cars were parked Friday eveing.
On the quiet street, news of the tragedy quickly spread.
A neighbor, Fred Chacalos, 62, said Tuozzolo was friendly. “If I saw him washing his car while I was walking my dog, I’d say hello.”
Among the many people saddened by the death was Ann Vikingstad, who lives across the street.
“My grandson wants to be a police officer,” she said Friday evening. But now, after another fatal line-of-duty shooting, she’s thinking of her grandson’s safety.
“This is too close,” she said.
With Laura Blasey and Joan Gralla