Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today honored 33 members of the New York City Police Department at the 2008 Medal Day ceremony by awarding four Medals of Honor, 17 Police Combat Crosses, and 12 Medals of Valor. The Mayor and Police Commissioner were joined by family members of the honorees at the ceremony at One Police Plaza.
“Through their extraordinary acts of courage, today’s medal winners have helped keep New York the safest big city in the country,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The 33 medal winners prove that there are no limits to how far our Finest will go to protect our City, and that they love this city enough to make the ultimate act of self-sacrifice when it’s necessary.”
“Our ceremony today includes 33 examples of true heroism, stories of how-in an instant-the routine became extraordinary, a single decision became a defining moment, and an officer's instinct became a measure of his character,” said Police Commissioner Kelly.
The NYPD first awarded the Medal of Honor, the Police Department’s highest award, in 1871. Since then, the NYPD has also recognized the extraordinary performance of duty by presenting the Police Combat Cross, the NYPD’s second highest honor, and the Medal of Valor, the NYPD’s third highest honor. The Purple Shield was first awarded in 1995 to reflect meritorious service where serious injury or death was incurred in the performance of duty.
The Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to Auxiliary Police Office Eugene Marshalik and Auxiliary Police Officer Nicholas Pekearo. On March 14, 2008, Auxiliary Officer Marshalik and Auxiliary Officer Pekearo were patrolling on foot in Greenwich Village ’s 6th Precinct when they were alerted to a shooting in a nearby restaurant. Despite being unarmed, the two Auxiliary Officers pursued the gunman. They confronted the shooter and convinced him to drop a bag containing a gun and 90 rounds of ammunition. The perpetrator pulled out a second gun and shot and killed both volunteer officers. Responding officers ordered the perpetrator to drop his gun. The shooter refused and was subsequently shot and killed.
(PHOTO: Iola Latman, mother of Auxiliary Police Officer Nicholas Pekearo, receives the Medal of Honor for her son. NYPD Photo Unit.)
The Medal of Honor was also awarded posthumously to Detective Russel Timoshenko and awarded to Detective Herman Yan. The officers worked as partners on July 9, 2007 while on patrol in the 71st Precinct in Brooklyn. Driving in their marked police car, the officers observed a suspicious vehicle. After checking the license plate using the laptop in their patrol car, the officers learned that the plate did not match the car. Officer Yan and Officer Timoshenko instructed the vehicle to pull over and exited their patrol car. Just as they got out of their car, numerous shots were fired from the stopped vehicle. Officer Timoshenko was hit twice in the face and fell down. Officer Yan was struck once in the arm and once in the chest where his bullet resistant vest helped save his life. Despite his injuries, Officer Yan returned fire forcing the perpetrators to flee the area. Officer Yan called for help and provided key descriptions and details to the responding officers. Officer Yan was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital after a few days. Officer Timoshenko succumbed to his injuries after five days in intensive care. All three perpetrators were caught after a wide-ranging multi-state manhunt. In a ceremony held on July 27, 2007, Russel Timoshenko was posthumously promoted to Detective First Grade and his partner, Herman Yan, was promoted to Detective.
(PHOTOS: Tatyana Timoshenko receives the Medal of Honor for her son, Detective Russel Timoshenko. His partner, Detective Herman Yan, also receives the Medal of Honor, usually given to officers killed in the line of duty. NYPD Photo Unit.)
This year, 17 officers received the Police Combat Cross, which recognizes courage and heroism during personal combat with an armed adversary, and 12 officers received the Medal of Valor, which recognizes personal bravery in the face of imminently dangerous or life-threatening situations. Unit Citations were awarded to 11 various units.
Police Combat Cross
Detective David Gonzalez – Intel Operations Analysis Section
Police Officer Harrington Marshall – Highway Unit 1
Sergeant Jeremy Berson – 62nd Precinct
Sergeant Kenneth Zepherin - 75th Precinct
Detective Albert Arredondo - Detective Bureau Brooklyn North Homicide Task Force
Detective Salvatore Giardina - 49th Detective Squad
Sergeant Christopher Pasquale – 41st Detective Squad
Retired Sergeant Kevin Costello - Vice Enforcement Division Bronx
Detective Jesus Capo - Vice Enforcement Division Bronx
Retired Sergeant Chik-Sum Gong - Patrol Borough Brooklyn North
Police Officer John Antonacci - 81st Precinct
Police Officer Nicholas Horun - 81st Precinct
Police Officer Hector Ramirez - Auto Crime Division
Sergeant Jose Garcia - Narcotics Borough Bronx
Detective Francisco Peña - Narcotics Borough Bronx
Sergeant Angel Torres - Patrol Borough Bronx Anti-Crime Unit
Police Officer Robert Regnier - Patrol Borough Bronx Anti-Crime Unit
Medal of Valor
Sergeant Robert Henderson - Intel Operations and Analysis Section
Detective Herbert Martin - 81st Detective Squad
Police Officer Brendan Owens - Manhattan North Robbery Squad
Lieutenant Timothy Farrell - 101st Precinct
Sergeant Patrick O’Neill - Counter Terrorism
Police Officer Joseph Cruzado - Gang Squad Queens
Sergeant Brian O’Toole - Internal Affairs Bureau
Police Officer Ronald Martiny – 103rd Precinct
Detective George Sichler - Harbor Unit
Detective Thomas Stevens - Harbor Unit
Detective Francis Vitale - Harbor Unit
Police Officer John Purcell - Harbor Unit
(PHOTOS: [top] Detective George Sichler is one of four NYPD Harbor Unit/SCUBA Team members to receive the Medal for Valor for a late-night air-sea rescue performed last October. [bottom] Commanding Officers wait to receive Unit Citations for outstanding performance. NYPD Photo Unit.)
Housing Bureau PSA 6
Transit Bureau District 33
Central Investigation and Resource Division
Narcotics Borough Queens
Parking Enforcement District
Staff Services Section