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Details Released in Friendly Fire Incident that Took Officer's Life

Details Released in Friendly Fire Incident that Took Officer's Life

The Boston Herald via YellowBrix

March 14, 2011

NASSAU COUNTY, NY – A Nassau County police officer was killed in a friendly-fire shooting outside a Massapequa Park house Saturday night, moments after two other department officers had shot and killed a resident of the home.

Dead are Officer Geoffrey Breitkopf, 40, a 12-year veteran of the force and a member of the Bureau of Special Operations, and Anthony DiGeronimo, 21, of Massapequa Park.

Authorities said Breitkopf, who was in plain clothes and carrying a rifle, was shot in the

front yard by Glenn Gentile, an Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officer who was also responding to the scene.

Police had gone to the home, which DiGeronimo apparently shares with his parents, after a 911 call alerted them to a masked man running through the neighborhood. He was shot by two uniformed officers after he lunged at them with knives, police said.

On Sunday morning, a flag at the Nassau County Special Operation’s Bureau was at half-staff. Two officers hung a purple-and-black bunting borrowed from the North Bellmore Fire Department in front of the building, to signal mourning for the loss of Breitkopf.

The slain officer was pronounced dead at 9:19 p.m. at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, said Det. Lt. Kevin Smith, the county police department’s chief spokesman.

“He died at NUMC,” Smith said. His family was with him."

The shooting of Breitkopf happened between eight and 13 minutes after DiGeronimo was shot in a bedroom in the house, police said.

Nassau Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said Breitkopf was walking with a rifle toward the home and was on the lawn when he was shot by an MTA officer who had also responded to the scene. Police said the MTA officer was outside the home but they did not provide an exact location.

The two officers who shot DiGeronimo were from the Seventh Precinct in Seaford, police said.

Mulvey said the department’s homicide squad would investigate the episode, though he all but ruled out criminal charges against the MTA officer. “We would think he determined there was danger afoot and misconstrued the circumstances,” Mulvey said.

He also said the department would review its guidelines for how plain clothes officers identify themselves to their uniformed counterparts.

“These kinds of circumstances cause us to take a step back,” he said.

Police with flashlights were searching the front yard lawn on Fourth Avenue just before 5 a.m. Sunday. Plain clothes and uniform officers were seen going in and out of the house, and just after 7 a.m. a body was removed on a stretcher.

The two Seventh Precinct officers and an MTA officer, who had responded from a nearby Long Island Rail Road station, responded to the initial 911 call, Smith said.

Smith did not elaborate on the role of each officer, adding only that those officers also were taken to NUMC for reasons he did not specify. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano visited the hospital, Smith said.

Hospital spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said the bullet wounded the slain officer in the left and right side of his chest and caused fatal trauma to his heart and lungs.

DiGeronimo had large knives strapped to his body, Smith said.

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  • 101_max50

    gman3858

    about 3 years ago

    318 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother.

  • Esu_patch_max50

    esu

    about 3 years ago

    498 Comments

    Apparently there was a retired NYPD Sgt at the scene, conflicting reports as to what he was doing there, buffed a scanner, lived on the block, was driving home and saw the foot pursuit,,,,, when he saw the plain clothes officer approach the location with an M4 slung over his shoulder he yelled "gun". The MTA officers then got involved, 1 tried to grab the rifle and then the 2nd fired. Like many of these type of incidents a tragic series of small errors that culminate in a disaster.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Sheepdog1

    about 3 years ago

    480 Comments

    RIP brother

  • 20_normal_max50

    JKNKY

    about 3 years ago

    352 Comments

    My thoughts and prayers are with all involved in this tragady. Rest in Peace Brother, and I hope the MTA officer can some how find peace. When we are sworn in we are issued a green reflective wrist slap with the word sheriff or police for our gun wrist that we are to use off duty / or under cover to help indentify us to uniformed officers. This in itself may not be enough so we are taught to always do what ever a uniformed officer commands us to do until we are properly identified. Emotions were high I am sure 8-13 minutes after the shooting so tunnel vision and other senses were probably all jacked up and thoughts were not clear. With the nature of some units officers dress to fit the streets and dont look like cops so it changes the playing field. Stay save and stay sharp.

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    about 3 years ago

    19386 Comments

    RIP and prayers to the family.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    aussie4

    about 3 years ago

    5328 Comments

    Numb with emotions here, dont have alot to say. God Bless Leo Breitkopf and his family.

  • Uniphone1_max50

    batman2944

    about 3 years ago

    738 Comments

    Rest in Peace, Brother and God Bless! My prayers go up for the MTA Officer.....

    "Stay in the Fight"

  • Dhs_max50

    WACollector

    about 3 years ago

    764 Comments

    Rest In Peace, Brother.

  • Absolutelawenf_max50

    ksphatcop

    about 3 years ago

    1744 Comments

    Rest in Peace

  • 21_max50

    philfroggy

    about 3 years ago

    1564 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    OlympicJoy

    about 3 years ago

    374 Comments

    Rest in peace.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Bnshape

    about 3 years ago

    662 Comments

    This is HORRIIFIC.....
    God Bless all who are directly involved.
    RIP my brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    shaun741

    about 3 years ago

    2758 Comments

    RIP prayers for your family and friends

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    captainbud

    about 3 years ago

    420 Comments

    May you rest in peace, my brother. May God comfort and bless your family and friends.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MP247

    about 3 years ago

    332 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Breitkopf

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