Volume 76, Number 43 | March 21 - 27, 2007

Four lives end in Greenwich Village on tragic night

By Lincoln Anderson

Helping make Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct one of the city’s safest neighborhoods was a passionate calling for auxiliary officers Nicholas Pekearo and Yevgeniy “Eugene” Marshalik. They gave their lives last Wednesday trying to stop gunman David Garvin — who had already killed once that night — from killing more innocent people.

Marshalik, 19, was a sophomore in N.Y.U.’s College of Arts and Science, majoring in politics with a minor in economics. He lived “on campus” in N.Y.U. housing.

Clockwise from top left, Yevgeniy Marshalik, Nicholas Pekearo, David Garvin and Alfredo Romero Morales.
A Russian native, Marshalik immigrated to America at age 5 with his parents. He attended the elite Stuyvesant High School, where he became a top debater, despite not being a native English speaker. He aspired to attend law school and be a prosecutor or F.B.I. agent, according to John Beckman, the university’s spokesperson. Beckman said friends described Marshalik as mature, able to hold a conversation with anybody about anything and devoted to policing.

“His friends said he was deeply committed to being an auxiliary officer and was happiest when he was in uniform,” Beckman said. “This is tragic and upsetting to have a student who was trying to do community service slain in this way. Imagine the courage and selflessness that this student of ours and his partner had in pursuing this person unarmed. His sacrifice and his valor will never be forgotten on this campus and, I would say, in this neighborhood.”

Beckman said the university would like to do something to honor Marshalik, but only if his parents approve of the idea.

Although some schools offer academic credit to students who are auxiliary officers, N.Y.U. does not, Beckman said.

Last Friday night, hundreds of police officers, cadets and auxiliaries filed into Redden’s Funeral Home on W. 14th St. to pay their respects at Pekearo’s wake. The young officer lay in a wooden coffin, wearing his uniform, his hat beside him and his leather jacket hanging nearby.

David Gelchik, an auxiliary sergeant in the Sixth Precinct, said what set Pekearo, 28, apart was that, as a native Villager, he knew the neighborhood inside and out. A writer himself, Pekearo could point out where all the famous Village authors had lived. “Once we responded to a call on Grove St.: A homeless guy had broken some glass,” Gelchik recalled. “And Nick gave me a whole lecture about the writer who had lived there.” He said Pekearo planned to enter the Police Academy this summer to become a full-fledged police officer.

After his funeral, Pekearo was remembered by friends who had known him since attending Junior High School 104 on E. 19th St. and Humanities High School in Chelsea together. They said he was artistic, loved the city and above all was unique.

“He was quiet, and he kept to himself, but he had courage,” said Nina Pisano, 27. “Even before he became an auxiliary he’d walk around the streets with an eye open. He’d look into cellar stairwells if he thought something was going on.”

Pisano sometimes tagged along with Pekearo on his patrol.

She said Pekearo and Marshalik — who they called “Ice Man” since he was from Russia — made a great team.

She said she never imagined Pekearo would face real danger on his regular beat: Bleecker, Sullivan and MacDougal Sts.

“The worst I could ever assume was that he’d encounter a drunk person who was difficult,” she said.

High school buddies recalled Pekearo as his own person.

“He was the only kid that wore a suit to school every day,” said Rabieh Ghazal, 28. “Four straight years of high school — kid wore a suit. He was brilliant, always drawing, always sketching.”

Eventually his suits became all black.

“It was very Nick Cave,” said his friend Ian Brill, 29, of Pekearo’s style at that time. “We used to listen to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Temple Song’ on repeat — for hours.

“Nick’s house was like our community. It’s where we went,” said Brill, a multimedia artist who now lives in Pittsburgh. “We were a special group of people. We were all very creative. And Nick took the cake.

“He was just a cultured, curious New Yorker — who was an incredible artist by default,” he said. “Early on, he decided to live his life his own way.”

As an artist, Pekearo was near a breakthrough, with Tor books about to accept his recently completed fantasy story about a werewolf, the third novel he had penned. He had recently moved in with his girlfriend in Park Slope.

Meanwhile, former Marine Garvin’s new artistic career as a filmmaker seemed frustrated. He had become obsessed with the leading lady in one of his films, sending her bizarre e-mails when she refused his advances.

Garvin, 42, had a history of violence, including assault against an ex-wife, as well as sending e-mails threatening to kill former co-workers when he was an employee in the Wall Street Journal’s production department, for which the Journal fired him. Relatives and in-laws said Garvin was always “dark,” but lately had become paranoid.

Belying the volatile, tormented mind behind his bloody rampage through the heart of Greenwich Village, on Garvin’s Web page harp music plays. The music is strangely peaceful, spacey — yet, at the same time, eerie.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Pekearo and Marshalik’s actions in getting Garvin to drop his backpack — which contained an extra gun and 100 more bullets and clips — doubtless saved lives. Kelly said that before police gunned down Garvin, he had been aiming his weapon “indiscriminately” at civilians as he ran.

Paula Hayward, 30, who had been returning to her Sullivan St. apartment after eating at Café del Mar on Bleecker St. last Wednesday night, recalled Garvin as firing wildly. She said she had seen Garvin “come around the corner randomly shooting at people,” at which she and her friend dove into a doorway.

“The fact that more people were not killed in Greenwich Village that night is in no small measure due to their heroic actions,” Kelly said of the two auxiliary officers.

Garvin had Downtown connections, too. He recently did a stint as a bartender at the Raccoon Lodge on Warren St., leaving the job about a month ago. He was the Saturday day bartender and the Sunday day and night bartender.

“He worked here for about two and a half months,” Brian Barrow, the bar’s manager, said. “We were going to let him go — but then he gave his notice. So we let him work two more weeks.”

Barrow denied reports that Garvin had issues with another bartender, was drinking too much on the job and lacked charisma — failing to attract a steady crowd.

“He was a fine bartender,” he said. “I’d give him a ‘B.’ ”

Asked then why they sought to replace him, Barrow said they wanted “someone who was going to bring in more money.

“We’re trying to put it behind us, because it had nothing to do with this bar,” he said on Sunday. He admitted, though, that employees are a bit shaken “knowing that a guy who killed three people worked next to them.”

Garvin’s last residence was in the West Village, at the West Coast Apartments, at 95 Horatio St., where he had recently moved in with his new girlfriend. Apartments in the tony building — a former Meat Market refrigeration plant converted residentially in the 1980s — rent for $3,000 a month and up.

Last Saturday, Ramon, the weekend doorman, said Garvin and the woman — whom the New York Post identified as Jennifer Webber, an investment banker — had onlly lived there about two weeks before Garvin went on his killing spree. He said he hadn’t noticed anything unusual about Garvin when he occasionally saw him coming and going.

Asked if Garvin had seemed O.K., he said, “With me, yes.”

“He was new here,” he said. “Nobody knew him — or her.”

Overhearing the talk about the murderous gunman, a father coming in with his young daughter, said incredulously, “Did he really live here?…. Crazy man.”

Alfredo Romero Morales, 33, was Garvin’s first victim last Wednesday night. He had come to America 14 years ago from Puebla, Mexico, and had worked at DeMarco’s restaurant three years. On Thursday morning, his four brothers — Hermino, Froylan, Marino and Miguel Angel — briefly showed up outside the restaurant. They live in Woodside, Queens, where Alfredo also lived with his longtime girlfriend.

Councilmember Alan Gerson that morning had been visiting the sites of the shootings, as well as local businesses, like Suzie’s Chinese restaurant, into which people had jumped while fleeing the flying bullets. Meeting the brothers by chance on Houston St., he offered his condolences.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, placing his hand on one of their shoulders, and telling them to contact him if there was anything he could do for them. They thanked him and walked off silently.

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