2007-03-22 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor's Desk ...

Our Finest

No matter where you practice your faith - whether it's in a mosque, a synagogue, a temple, a church, or even your own home - I ask that you say a prayer for some of our city's Finest.

That includes the family and friends of Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik - two volunteer auxiliary police officers who were gunned down by a murderous madman in Greenwich Village last Wednesday. These two brave young men risked their lives to keep their community safe, and were taken from us far too soon. Nicholas was 28 and Eugene was only 19. It really breaks your heart, and our entire city feels the pain of their loss.

In their final moments, both of these young men revealed themselves to be true heroes. And this weekend, when they were laid to rest, we accorded them the same honors that we give Police Officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

It's been 14 years since we lost a volunteer auxiliary police officer, and recent days have been a reminder of just how dangerous all police work is.

In fact, three more of our Finest faced grave danger over the past eight days, but escaped with their lives and are now recovering from their injuries. I ask you to say a prayer for them, too.

They include an officer who was shot and wounded on March 10th while apprehending a suspect in a Brooklyn nightclub. He's now at home and doing fine. Then, on Tuesday night, a suspect pulled an automatic weapon - an illegal firearm - on a police officer in Harlem and shot him twice. If not for his bulletproof vest, Officer Robert Tejada might well have lost his life. Thank-fully, he is expected to recover fully and we hope that he'll soon be back on active duty. Finally, there was Officer Angel Cruz. On Tuesday night he was severely stabbed by an assail-ant on a subway platform. He is still hospitalized and recovering from very serious injuries.

These three officers, along with the two volunteer auxiliary officers who lost their lives, put themselves in harm's way to keep our neighborhoods safe. They are truly our city's Finest. And they - and all the men and women in the NYPD - are the reason that crime in our city is at a more than 40-year low.

To keep New York the safest big city in the nation, we're going to continue driving down crime - and that includes cracking down on illegal guns. We're doing more than ever to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals and to keep all New Yorkers - including our police officers - safe.

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