New York City is mourning the deaths of two volunteer police officers and a bartender in Greenwich Village on Wednesday night. I was leaving the East Village just after the shooting, following a quick dinner and house-sitting orientation at the apartment of one of my bosses. I'll be staying at her place to take care of her 18-year old cat tonight through Tuesday morning while she is at a conference in Los Angeles and her husband is out of town.
I heard faint conversation on the train of a shooting that night as I rode the L across town and transferred to an uptown 1. By the time I got to my apartment in Harlem, it was breaking news. But the story continues to sadden as more details are released.
The victims were young: Alfred Romaro was a 35-year-old Mexican immigrant following the American dream as a waiter and bartender; Yevgeniy Marshalik was a 19-year-old political science major at NYU and volunteer police officer; Nicholas T. Pekearo - also a volunteer police officer - was a 28-year-old aspiring writer on the brink of publication.
The chilling surveillance video released by the NYPD shows the two unarmed officers bravely running toward the gunman David Gavin, and then desperately ducking for cover as he fatally shot them both while pedestrians run frantically along Sullivan Street.
According to reports, the two volunteers took great pride in serving this city. Pekearo even saved his own money to purchase a bulletproof vest. Only one of the bullets that were fired at him hit the vest.
Gavin was later killed by full-time police officers on Bleecker Street right outside of my friend Gina's apartment. She wasn't home at the time; however, upon her return she was not permitted on the street to enter the building. She slept at a nearby friend's apartment and returned the next day to a freshly washed sidewalk, yellow police tape and an unsual somber in one of Manhattan's trendiest and safest neighborhoods.