Wednesday, March 16, 2011

835 Cop Killer

835 Cop Killer

This is every cop’s worst nightmare. It is shared by friends, family, his or her fellow officers and the community served. Shot and killed on the job while trying to subdue a madman with a ninja knife.

Even worse when the cop’s brought down by... another cop.

Such is the story of Geoffrey Breitkopf, 40, part of the Nassau County Police Department’s Bureau of Special Operations, an elite squad trained in the art and science of dealing with officers and civilians under fire.

Breitkopf was on the job 12 years. Decorated ten different times. Married. Father of two. Worked in plain clothes. Drove a police issue unmarked, probably one of those battered old Fords that scream “Police.”

He had a rifle. He went to a house on an anonymous street in Massapequa Park, not exactly a high crime area. He was going to try to talk down a guy named Anthony DeGeronimo who was said to be slashing neighborhood tires with that knife.

Backup on the way. One of the backer-uppers was an MTA cop called Glenn Gentile who has spent the last six years patrolling Long Island Railroad Stations in Nassau.

What is it they say about cops? The best join the NYPD or the NCPD or maybe the Suffolk Police. After that, there’s the Postal Police, the various village PDs, the Amtrak cops and finally, the MTA police.

Gentile comes from a family of cops. His brother also is with the MTA police. His father was a Nassau detective who retired and then died.

Glenn Gentile pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Geoff Breitkopf and he is a mental wreck now. He never will be the same. He probably will spend the rest of his years on the buy side of a bar or in a padded room.

A lot of people are pretty angry with this shooter. Some will want blood. Some will understand that things like this happen. An “unfortunate accident.” None will be angrier than the shooter himself. You were a shrink, you’d put him on suicide watch immediately.

What can he say to the widow -- to the fatherless children. Gentile is a ruined man no matter what the authorities do to him. No matter what the priests or ministers or friends or neighbors say to him or about him.

One guy on the job for a real police force runs to help. Another from the Keystone Kops pulls the trigger at what he thinks is a menace of a madman carrying a rifle at a standoff. He kills a real cop.

The madman, DeGeronimo, spotted slashing tires, ran into his house and later re-emerged wearing a black leather outfit and brandishing that ninja knife. The cops shot him dead. But the faux cop who shot the real cop? They’d best keep him off the streets. Because if they don’t, he’s likely to meet with an unfortunate accident. A fatal accident.

But the real culprit here is neither DeGeronimo nor Gentile. It’s whoever is in charge of training the MTA police. And whoever sends out a real cop with a rifle and no obvious signs of his being a cop, like a day-glo vest or a jacket with NCPD in big white letters.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com.
© WJR 2011

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

i understand that these are your own opinions, but before you go and judge do some research into what you are printing. As a reporter/blogger what ever, i would expect you to get your facts from reliable sources and not from the NY tabloids; Daily News, NY Post and Newsday.

Maybe you should also take a minute and talk to an actual MTA police officer and ask them what their job entails. You may just find out that they do do actual police work.

The MTA officer who you refer to as a "KOP" bleeds blue the same way officer Breitkopf did. He's just as dedicated to his job and should be treated with the same respect. This is a terribly unfortunate incident that that every Police Officer fears everyday on the Job. Thoughts and prayers should go to ALL of the officers involved.

Wes Richards said...

I do not respond to anonymous posts. If you wish to discuss this, I will be happy to, either here or at my e mail address, wesrichards@gmail.com
after learning who you are. Thanks.