March 17, 2011

NYPD Officer Killed By a Shove; Nassau Cop is Also Slain


FALLEN IN A LINE OF DUTY: Police Officers Alain Schaberger (left) and Geoffrey Breitkopf.  

“A routine domestic-violence call early this morning became anything but routine,” Mayor Bloomberg said March 13 after the death of Officer Alain Schaberger.

Mr. Schaberger, 42, was killed in the early-morning hours when a career criminal  he and other officers were struggling to handcuff pushed him over the railing of a brownstone stoop, causing him to fall nine feet down a cement stairwell and break his neck, according to police.

Arrests for Domestic Violence

Mr. Schaberger, 42, was assigned to the 84th Precinct, where he regularly worked midnight tours. A 10-year veteran of the NYPD, he was engaged to be married.

The suspect, George Villanueva, also 42, had been arrested a dozen times for domestic violence against the woman who called police on March 13. He had been arrested at least three times in the past four months for punching the woman, the New York Times reported. Police also said he had been arrested for robbery and burglary.

First-Degree Murder Charge

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Mr. Villanueva was released from prison in 2005. “This morning’s tragic events show how quickly an altercation can turn deadly, for both victims of domestic violence and the officers responding to these calls,” Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Villanueva’s uncle, Ely Figueroa, told the Times that Mr. Villanueva had spent the previous evening watching boxing matches and drinking six to nine beers.

Mr. Villanueva was charged with first-degree murder of a police officer, criminal contempt and assault.

“Police officers never know what to expect when they answer a radio run,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement. “While Officer Schaberger made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, his family too has sacrificed more than can be asked or expected. They will live with that sacrifice every day of the rest of their lives. While we honor the courage of Officer Schaberger as we prepare to lay him to rest, we must also question a system that allows a vile and violent career criminal with scores of arrests for violent offenses to continue to walk our neighborhoods.” 

Friendly Fire in Nassau

Hours before Mr. Schaberger was killed, Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf of the Nassau County Police Department, who was working in plainclothes, was fatally shot by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Officer in Massapequa Park, L.I., when both responded to back up two Nassau officers who had just shot and killed a knife-waving man.

The MTA officer, who was not identified, and his partner were at a nearby railroad station, Nassau police said. Mr. Breitkopf, 40, and his partner arrived a few minutes later. Mr. Breitkopf approached the house carrying a rile at his side, police said, when the MTA officer shot him once. Nassau police would not discuss whether the officers were wearing identifying insignia.