The widow of the NYPD sergeant from Long Island who was slain in the Bronx a year ago Saturday said she has spent the past 365 days struggling to be a mom and dad to her young sons.
Lisa Tuozzolo of Greenlawn, addressing a memorial plaque unveiling for her husband, Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, outside his base, the 43rd Precinct, likened her family’s heartbreak to a vase shattered to pieces.
“Every day since November 4, I continue to learn how to be both a mom and a dad to two young boys. Every day I continue to navigate an unwanted reality where I’m responsible for ensuring my boys have everything they need and to ensure that they grow up to be kind, caring, loving and respectful human beings,” she said Saturday in remarks that drew a standing ovation.
Gone are the days when the boys, now 4 and 5, would wake up the couple to watch cartoons, eat breakfast in bed, enjoy Super Bowl parties with chicken wings and would guess “how many bad guys Daddy caught that day.”
“At night when I put the boys to bed, and I’m left all alone without my husband by my side, or my best friend to go over my day with — that’s when it’s the hardest,” she said.
Standing before the widow were officers who have become close to the family, some in memorial T-shirts, others wearing Patches4Paul — a memorial cloth she designed with Paul Tuozzolo’s fellow sergeant and work partner, Manny Kwo, who was shot in the leg during the Nov. 4, 2016, confrontation.
Tuozzolo, 41, died after being shot by Manuel Rosales, 35, of Brentwood, while Tuozzolo was responding to a 911 call about a disturbance at the home of the gunman’s estranged wife. Rosales was shot and killed by the police.
On Saturday, hundreds of police officers, along with politicians such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, recalled Tuozzolo, a man who loved kids, his job and family. De Blasio said the city wouldn’t forget Tuozzolo.
“We will be there,” de Blasio said, as the boys, Joseph, 4, and Austin, 5, sat nearby, one in a Spider-Man top. “Everyone of us will be there for Lisa and her wonderful children.”