Last night, a man carrying two handguns and over 100 rounds of ammunition shot and killed a pizzeria employee in Greenwich Village and fatally shot two unarmed auxiliary police officers, before responding police officers shot him on Bleecker Street. The slain counterman at DeMarco's Pizza is being described as Romero Morales or Alfredo Romaro (we will refer to him as Romaro). The auxiliary police officers were identified as 19-year-old Eugene Marshalik, a NYU student, and Nicholas Pekearo, 28. And the shooter was David Garvin, 50 (also described as being 32 year old). Mayor Bloomberg said, "It's a horrible night for the New York Police Department and the city."
Police say Garvin, while wearing a fake beard, entered DeMarco's at 146 West Houston. Romaro gave him a menu (Newsday reports witnesses say Romaro seemed nervous) and when he turned his back, Garvin shot him 15 times. Garvin then fled, leaving a bag with 100 rounds of ammo and a gun. He headed up MacDougal, towards Bleecker.
Marshalik and Pekearo, both wearing uniforms like regular police officers but are unarmed, followed up on Sullivan Street. Outside The Lion's Den bar, Garvin reportedly crossed the street and shot them. Garvin ran to Bleecker, but responding police officers then cornered him on Bleecker between Sullivan and MacDougal. One officer had initially tackled him, but Garvin managed to "throw him off." Either outside or just within the Village Tannery, Garvin shot at the police, shattering a window. The police yelled for Garvin to drop his gun, but opened fire when he refused.
It's unclear why Garvin shot Morales.
Witnesses were shocked and scared during the gunfire and ensuing violence. One woman told the NY Times, “There was [gun]fire coming from everywhere. There was a cop who was shooting and then took cover behind a pole.” A witness told the Daily News, "[The gunman] was on the ground, facedown... He was full of bullet holes and blood was coming out" And some people also offered opinions of DeMarco's clientele; a woman told the Post, "They are not the normal neighborhood people. They're smoking and throwing their [cigarette] butts all over the place."
Mayor Bloomberg also said, "What this indicates is that this tragedy, as horrific as it was, could have been a lot worse and without the actions of our brave officers most likely would have been."
The last time an auxiliary police officer was killed was in 1993, when 47-year-old Milton Clarke was killed in the Bronx. There are over 4,000 auxiliary police officers, who are all unpaid volunteers. Here's how the NYPD explains the auxiliary police - they are volunteers:
Who are the Auxiliary Police?
They are civic-minded, individuals who volunteer to assist their local Police Precincts, Housing Police Service Area, and Transit Borough Queens, by performing uniformed patrol in their communities. They are recruited, trained and equipped by the Police Department. They come from many diverse backgrounds and a myriad of occupations throughout the City, such as computer programmers, mechanics, merchants, nurses, security guards, school teachers, students, etc.
What are their functions?
Auxiliary Police provide extra "eyes and ears" for the Police Department by performing uniformed foot, vehicle and bicycle patrols. They are trained to observe and report conditions requiring the services of the regular police. Whenever possible, they assist in non-enforcement and non-hazardous duties. The following are some areas in which the Auxiliary Police assist the Police Department: Residential and commercial areas; Community festivals, parades, concerts, street fairs, park patrols; Subway entrances and token booth areas; Perimeter of Houses of Worship; Crime prevention activities; Traffic control.
One requirement, besides being in good health or an American citizen is "to be of good character." Marshalik was a recent Stuyvesant High School graduate.
And last night's updates as the new broke are below, after the jump.
Top photograph by Charles Edouard Jottras/AP; middle and bottom (after the jump) photographs by Brian Dube/New York Daily Photo
3/14, 10PM - Via BNN:
U/D NY| MANHATTAN| *AUXILLARY OFFICER SHOT*| 146 WEST HOUSTON ST| A PERP SHOT A CIVILIAN 6 TIMES INSIDE A RESTAURANT, HE RAN OUT OF THE RESTAURANT AND ENCOUNTERED A UNIFORMED POLICE OFFICER, HE EXCHANGED GUN FIRE RAN AWAY, HE ENCOUNTERED TWO AUXILLARY POLICE OFFICERS AND SHOT ONE OF THEM TO THE HEAD AND RAN AWAY, ENCOUNTERED ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER AND ALSO EXCHANGED GUN FIRE. THE PERP HAS BEEN PRONOUNCED DOA . UNKNOWN CONDITION OF THE POLICE OFFICERS| BNNDESK/485/987/399/33There is a massive police presence in the area-- Houston to Bleecker, west of LaGuardia-- two choppers overhead, and all the local TV trucks rolling on to the scene. Bystanders at the scene told us that the gunman started the mayhem at the corner of Houston and Sullivan, outside De Marco's Pizza, and was chased by the cops to the corner of Bleecker and Sullivan, where he was shot by the police and killed. In between, he shot a responding cop in the head (inside the Lion's Head Bar.)
NY1 has a sketchy report from the scene. CW11 is saying that the cop who was shot is in serious condition at St. Vincents. Witnesses are describing a wild scene, with the cops firing multiple shots at the perp. WNBC was saying that the officers shot were auxiliary police, who normally don't carry weapons. Streets are shut down from Thompson to 6th, Houston up to Bleecker or 3rd.
Update: ABC is saying one of the officers was killed, and the other is in serious condition. That's been confirmed by other sources.
Update 3/14, 11:30PM: WNBC says this is what happened: After shooting the bartender inside DeMarco's, the gunman ran up to the Lion's Den on Sullivan to hide. Two auxiliary police officers chased him in there, and the gunman shot them. Then responding police officers, who were on the scene in 2 minutes, shot the gunman many times. There are three confirmed dead: The gunman, the bartender, and one auxiliary police officers.
The injured officers are at St. Vincent's Hospital. Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly are there and will probably give a press conference once more information is available.
Update 12AM, 3/15: The Lion's Den said that the shooting took place outside and no one involved in the shooting entered the bar. And we're hearing the second auxiliary police officer died.
Update: WABC 7 confirms that both auxiliary police officers died. The gunman's 9mm gun was retrieved at the scene.