February 1, 2008

Hero Police Officers Receive Recognition

Staff Reporter of the Sun

Two Marine Corps veterans who served in Iraq were among a group of police officers honored yesterday for their heroics.

Four police officers were promoted to detective yesterday morning at 1 Police Plaza for brave deeds performed in the line of duty last year, and hours later the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association bestowed its "Finest of the Finest" award on 38 officers.

Following the ceremony, Commissioner Raymond Kelly, a former Marine colonel, personally thanked the four promoted officers, a group that included Angel Cruz and Jose Santana, who as Marines each spent six months in Iraq.

Mr. Santana was one of three officers forced into a gunfight last year while patrolling the no. 4 subway line in the Bronx.

The officers were distributing summonses to three suspects for illegally crossing between subway cars when one of them pulled out a loaded handgun and pointed at the head of an officer, Annemarie Marchiondo.

Ms. Marchiondo escaped the suspect's grasp, and shots were fired. During the exchange, Ms. Marchiondo was shot three times and the suspect was killed.

On top of promotions, Mr. Santana, Ms. Marchiondo, and Diana Lugo received awards at the PBA ceremony that was held at the Water Club in Manhattan.

The other war veteran, Mr. Cruz, was promoted for the valiant job he did in arresting and shooting an armed suspect in March of last year.

During a search, the suspect pulled out a knife and stabbed Mr. Cruz in the head. Despite the life-threatening wound, the officer was able to steady his gun and fire a shot at the suspect. He then took the knife and held the suspect at bay until backup arrived.

Other officers honored by the PBA yesterday included Detective Russell Timoshenko, who was shot and killed while performing a routine car stop in Brooklyn, and Officers William Svenstrup and Keith Gallagher, who helped resuscitate a 21-month-old baby after she had stopped breathing in the East Village.