Did Officer Paul Tuozzolo do the right thing in sacrificing his life for a fellow police officer? Did he have a higher duty to protect his life so that he could continue to provide for his family?
I suppose more to the point would be this question: Is it better to be a live coward or a dead hero?
There are no easy answers to these questions, at least not in my mind.
I was never paid or expected to take a bullet for a co-worker. I have noticed, however, that some men do this even if they’re not police officers. Generally, these are white men who are hailed as heroes.
NEW YORK — The images were shocking of another police office shot violently on the streets of New York.
The suspect was a man who had 17 prior arrests. PIX11 covered the story extensively and three months later we sat down on-on-one with Sgt. Emmanuel Kwo who says Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo saved his life the day Tuozzolo was shot and killed.
“There is no reason why I’m here and he’s not except he saved my life,” said Kwo.
Tuozzolo took the lead that day to shield his colleagues. Kwo was shot in the leg.
“I definitely felt I had been shot, however at that moment my concern and my thoughts were on everyone else who was on that scene especially Paul.” Kwo said.
It’s been three months but the emotions are still raw.
“It’s hard to put into words all the range of emotions that went through my head and all of the officers at the scene that day,” Kwo said.
Commanding Officer Fausto Pichardo at the 43rd Precinct said discussed the pain of losing a friend and colleague.
“You take probably the most crucial seconds you will probably take after receiving that phone call and think about the families,” said Pichardo.
To help families get through tragedy, the NYPD developed the Employee Relations Section.
“We are therefor them always, we have the task of notifying families then helping them get to a new normal,” said Chief Thomas Burns. “No need is too big or small.”
ERS is also there to support police officers.