BABYLON, N.Y. -
Thousands of police officers from New York City and beyond paid tribute yesterday to a patrolman shot to death during a botched robbery in Brooklyn, recalling the 22-year veteran as both a dedicated lawman and devoted father of four daughters.
Officer Peter Figoski, 47, of West Babylon, preferred working the midnight-to-8 shift, officials said, in part so he could spend more time with his family. He was responding to a report of an apartment break-in Dec. 12 in the 75th Precinct in the East New York neighborhood.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the officer's family in brief remarks, specifically Figoski's daughters, Carolyn, 16, and Corrine, 14, both in high school, and Christine, 20, and Caitlyn, 18, who are in college upstate.
"As the father of daughters, I understand the bonds you share with your dad, how much you miss him," Bloomberg said in remarks piped through loudspeakers to the thousands of officers lined up outside St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, in Babylon, on Long Island. The mayor said that the officer, who earned 12 medals and made more than 200 arrests in his career, was posthumously promoted to detective, first-class.
"Knowing your father was a hero, however, doesn't make it any easier these days," Bloomberg said. "Knowing your dad was revered in the NYPD doesn't make his passing less painful."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly noted that Figoski's career paralleled New York City's monumental drop in crime over the past two decades. The commissioner noted later that crime plummeted by 90 percent in the 75th Precinct during his 22 years of service there.
Figoski and his partner were providing backup to two officers questioning a victim and two suspects in a Brooklyn apartment robbery investigation when an alleged gunman later identified as Lamont Pride and another man tried to flee, police said.
During a struggle between the officer's partner and one of the suspects, Figoski came face-to-face with Pride, who, police said, shot him with a semiautomatic handgun before Figoski could draw his own weapon.
His partner pursued Pride on foot and captured him several blocks away, police said.