FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2010
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND POLICE COMMISSIONER RAYMOND W. KELLY UPDATE NEW YORKERS ON THE CONDITIONS OF NYPD OFFICERS ALFREDO VARGAS AND MICHAEL TEDESCHI
Mayor Bloomberg's Remarks as Delivered this Morning at New York Presbyterian Hospital Follow:
"Well, good morning. I am joined today by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Chief of Department Joe Esposito, NYPD Chief Surgeon Dr. Eli Kleinman, Chief Pulaski, Chief Hall, and Grace Glassmann the attending physician here who took care of our officer, and other senior leaders of the Police Department.
"If you remember, just twelve short Sundays ago, we were all together at Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn, hoping and praying that Officer Carlos Olmedo would make it through surgery after being hit by a motorcycle chasing car thieves. Thankfully, he emerged from his coma about eleven days later, and in late June he got a well-deserved hero's welcome as he walked back in to his precinct house for the first time.
"Earlier this morning, less than three months later, we got another very real reminder of the high stake risks that it takes to keep New York the safest big city in America. Just after 3 AM this morning, two officers were shot responding to an argument at a block party in Harlem. Thankfully, both officers will be fine, as will the two other NYPD officers who sustained minor injuries on the call. Officer Alfredo Vargas was shot in the hand, and was treated at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital and has already been released. Officer Michael Tedeschi was hit in his bullet resistant vest and is here at New York Presbyterian Columbia. I want to thank the staff at both hospitals for their excellent care, and Police Commissioner Kelly will fill you in on the details in a moment.
"I just met Officer Tedeschi and his wife Ronnie. You should know that this is not the first time that Officer Tedeschi donned a blue uniform and risked his life to keep us all safe - he was a four-year veteran of the United States Air Force before joining the NYPD. Officer and Mrs. Tedeschi have two sons and a daughter - Jillian aged 17, Jake aged 6, and Tommy aged 4. Thankfully, unlike the last time - and most of the times that we get together for one of these horrible hospital meetings - I can say with full confidence that their father will come home to them, if not later this morning, then later this afternoon. Commissioner Kelly, can you fill us in some of the details?
"As Commissioner Kelly said, the NYPD is continuing to interview witnesses and analyze video from surrounding buildings. The Police Department will have more to say as this investigation unfolds. But we do know that an officer is upstairs today, and he owes his life to the bullet resistant vest he was wearing on duty this morning. And a young man in our City, who somehow lost his way but somehow found an illegal .38 caliber revolver, awaits the criminal justice system. 'But what awaits the rest of us?' 'How much longer are we going as a nation to wait before we get serious about stopping illegal guns from getting into the hands of people who mean to do others harm?' 'How many more times are we going to gather at hospitals like this one on a morning like this and say there but for the grace of God and a bullet resistant vest goes another of our men and women of the NYPD?'
"For all that we've done building a collation of hundreds of elected officials against illegal guns; those are some of the hardest questions our nation, together, needs to answer. But in the meantime Police Commissioner and I are here and we would be happy to take your questions.
"Let me just add, we're very lucky today. Two police officers shot, fortunately not seriously. But there but for the grace of God it could have been much worse. And in terms of our abilities to protect ourselves, to be safe on our streets, we've just got to do something about all these guns - the guns that keep flooding into our cities. And it's not just New York, it's all big cities. It's just something that we cannot tolerate, we cannot let to continue to happen, and the public has just got to call their elected officials and say, 'You've got to stop this craziness and do something about it.'
"Also I think all of us, just before we go to bed tonight, might just look in a mirror and say thank God for the NYPD who's willing to put their lives in the line of fire to keep the rest of us safe. And I also wanted to thank Dr. Glassmann for your hospital and hospitals like yours throughout this city who treat us when we need emergency services. Thank you very much. Thank you."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958