Veteran NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo will be remembered as a hero who lost his life protecting a fellow officer, speakers recalled Thursday at his funeral.
Tuozzolo was killed last week as he and Sgt. Emmanuel Kwo confronted a gunman who had taken his estranged wife and toddler son hostage in the Bronx. Kwo was wounded in the leg. Police shot and killed the gunman.
Edward Mullins, president of the Sergeants' Benevolent Association, said during his remarks during the service, that Kwo asked him to share a recent conversation:
"Sgt. Kwo said to me, 'Paul saved my life, Ed. He saved my life. I was approaching that car too and I didn't see what Paul saw. I would have continued to approach that car, just as Paul did, but Paul's final words were warning to me and my partner. He yelled to us, 'gun, gun, gun.'"
Mullins said Tuozzolo’s final actions “can only be described as those of a hero."
An estimated 12,000 police officers gathered on Long Island to mourn Tuozzolo, a 41-year-old married father of two young boys.
Mayor Bill De Blasio call offered his condolences to Tuozzolo’s family on behalf of the city's 8 million residents.
"He served in an exemplary fashion, doing his all, giving his all for all of us," he said.
The mayor then directed his remarks to Tuozzolo’s two sons.
"You're so very young and will take time for these words to make sense to you, but I want you to know I have something deeply in common with you,” he said “Just like you, I lost my father when I was young… but I knew every day after we lost him, that he was a hero. I know you will remember your dad as a hero, years from now when you're grown up, that will give you comfort."