Volume 80, Number 42 | March 17 - 23, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photos by Jefferson Siegel

At left, Iola Latman, mother of Auxiliary Police Officer Nicholas Pekearo, read a sign on Sullivan St. honoring Pekearo and his patrol partner, Eugene Marshalik. At right, Marshalik’s parents, Boris and Maya Marshalik, with their daughter Jane, 3, under a street sign honoring their son.

4 years later, slain auxiliaries’ heroism recalled

By Jefferson Siegel

Four years after the Village was wracked by a night of violence rarely seen in the historic enclave, locals paused last Monday night to remember the victims of a crazed gunman.

Police officers and auxiliary police officers joined the family and friends of two fallen auxiliaries as they walked in a procession from the Sixth Precinct on W. 10th St., east across Bleecker St.

When the marchers reached Sullivan St., they were met by dozens of officers who stood at attention for an invocation and a remembrance of two young men whose bright futures were tragically ended on that night in 2007.

On that warm evening of March 14, 2007, David Garvin walked into DeMarco’s Italian restaurant at West Houston and MacDougal Sts. After asking bartender Alfredo Morales for a menu, Garvin pulled out a handgun and fired 15 shots into Morales’s back.

As police responded to calls of the shooting, Garvin started walking toward Bleecker and Sullivan Sts. Two Sixth Precinct auxiliary police officers, Nicholas Pekearo, 28 and Eugene Marshalik, 19, were on patrol when their radio crackled with news of the shooting. The unarmed auxiliaries spotted Garvin approaching on Bleecker St. and ordered him to drop his backpack.

At first Garvin complied but then punched Pekearo in the face and proceeded to run up Sullivan St. It was later revealed that the backpack held a second gun and 100 bullets.

The young officers followed Garvin at a distance. Suddenly, Garvin turned and fired a half-dozen times at Pekearo. He then turned his weapon on Marshalik, killing him with one bullet to the back of the head.

Police flooded the area as a large swath of the Village was locked down. After exchanging fire with pursuing officers, Garvin ducked into a store, the Village Tannery, where he likely reloaded. Upon emerging, he was ordered to drop his weapon before officers ended his rampage in a fusillade of gunfire.

“We will never know what was going through the mind of that criminal,” Auxiliary Sergeant Maury Englander told the hushed assemblage on Monday night. “It was the actions of these two officers that prevented mass murder that night,” Englander said.

After a final, white-glove salute from the gathered officers, Marshalik’s parents, Boris and Maya, stood holding their daughter Jane, 3, as the child reached for a bouquet of flowers hanging on a nearby lamppost.

“We still miss him. It doesn’t get any easier,” Maya Marshalik said in the heartrending tone of a parent who has lost a child.

Marshalik was a student in N.Y.U.’s College of Arts and Science, working toward a degree in politics and economics.

“We are proud. We are thinking about him every second of every day for four years,” Boris Marshalik said.

Standing under another street sign bearing her son’s name, West Villager Iola Latman smiled as she spoke of her son, Nicholas Pekearo.

“I think mostly about the life he wanted,” she recalled. “Four days prior to the incident, he met with his editor about his book.” Pekearo, a writer, had just completed a fantasy novel about werewolves.

“I miss his goodness and his humor. He was my best friend,” Latman said before quietly walking up Sullivan St., her steps mirroring the same path followed by Pekearo on that tragic night.

Two street signs bearing the heroes’ names now hang on the northeast and southwest corners of Sullivan and Bleecker Sts. On Monday night, bouquets of flowers and photos of the young men hung from those lampposts, reminders of a grateful community that will not forget their sacrifices.

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