Slain New York officer praised for his actions during shooting

Published March 18, 2007

NEW YORK - An auxiliary police officer killed while confronting a deranged gunman in Greenwich Village "came face to face with evil and conquered it," the city's police commissioner said at the volunteer officer's funeral Saturday.

Nicholas Todd Pekearo, 28, received full police honors as his NYPD flag-draped coffin was carried out of a Manhattan funeral home.

Pekearo and another volunteer officer, Eugene Marshalik, 19, were fatally shot Wednesday evening while confronting gunman David Garvin as he fled through the streets after killing a bartender in a restaurant. Regular police officers cornered and killed Garvin minutes after the shootings.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly credited Pekearo and Marshalik with ordering Garvin to drop a bag containing a gun and ammunition, thus preventing further bloodshed.

Pekearo was born and raised in Greenwich Village, which he patrolled as an auxiliary officer each week while planning to join the force full-time.

Pekearo and Marshalik were part of the city's force of 4,500 auxiliary officers - volunteers who dress like full-time police but are not given weapons or bulletproof vests.

Pekearo had purchased his own vest and was wearing it, but it didn't save his life; only one of the several shots that struck him hit the armor, police said.

Auxiliary officers are rewarded with "little more than personal satisfaction and a job well done," Kelly said, adding that Pekearo was especially devoted to protecting the West Village community that had nurtured "his artistic talent."

When he died, he had just completed the manuscript of his third novel and was hoping to publish it, said Shirley Ariker, his writing teacher at Empire State College, where he studied while working at a Manhattan bookshop.

"His book is very good. It's all about the struggle to do good," said Ariker, who wept near the casket.