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DA: No Charges in Massapequa Park Shootings

Officers involved in civilian shooting and friendly-fire death of police officer did not break law.

The Nassau County District Attorney's office has concluded that charges will not be presented to a grand jury against officers who fired weapons in last year's fatal police-involved shooting of a civilian in Massapequa Park and the "friendly fire" shooting that killed Officer Geoffrey Breitkopf minutes later.

DA Kathleen Rice issued a report on Tuesday saying the use of deadly force by the officers in the killing of Breitkopf and was justified.

"With respect to the shooting of Officer Breitkopf, the totality of the evidence supports the conclusion that this shooting, although indescribably tragic, was not unjustified as justification is defined by law," the report said.

Officers who responded to the scene outside DiGeronimo's home last March did not realize that Breitkopf, 40, a member of the Nassau County Police Department's elite Bureau of Special Operations, was a fellow cop.

According to the report, Breitkopf arrived at the scene in civilian clothes and carrying an assault rifle with a magazine and a shoulder strap.

"This investigation revealed that no one witnessed Officer Breitkopf identify himself as a police officer and no one recalled seeing his shield displayed," the report said.

Breitkopf was confronted by a colleague who tried to physically stop Breikopf from advancing.

Glen Gentile, thee officer who shot Breitkopf saw the "assault rifle was raised, and moving, so that it appeared that the rifle was pointing toward the officers involved in the struggle and others," the report said. "He perceived a deadly threat to the other officers and civilians present, and so he fired his weapon once. Officer Breitkopf was hit in the torso." Gentile is an MTA officer who responded to the scene with his partner.

Breitkopf died at Nassau University Medical Center.

The tragedy unfolded just minutes after the shooting of DiGeronimo, who police confronted after receiving reports about a suspicious knife-wielding man.

An officer who came to the scene, near the home, "repeatedly ordered DiGeronimo to drop his weapons, but DiGeronimo did not comply," according to the report.

Officers followed him inside the home, and DiGeronimo again refused to stop or respond to police orders.

Officers followed him inside and a standoff ensued as DiGeronimo retreated to a bedroom. Officers stayed on the other side of the hallway and ordered DiGeronimo to come out and drop the weapon.

"DiGeronimo then abruptly emerged from the room and marched aggressively toward the police, with his arms raised to his head while clutching a knife with the tip pointing upward," the report said.

Officers told prosecutors that he again ignored warnings before Officers Richard McDonald and Paul Lewis opened fire as DiGeronimo charged them. 

"The totality of the evidence supports the conclusion that the shooting of Anthony DiGeronimo was legally justified," the report said. "While Officer McDonald and Officer Lewis intentionally used deadly physical force against DiGeronimo, each acted upon a reasonable belief that DiGeronimo was armed with knives and was about to use deadly physical force."

Rice added: “Officer Geoffrey Breitkopf was a dedicated police officer who honorably served his community, and on March 12, 2011 was a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who lost a loved one in this tragedy.”

Massa May 19, 2012 at 01:12 AM
You are wrong, because I do know what is going on in my house and in my kids lives, because I talk to them and am around to be in their lives, my head isn't up my ass like half the parents in the area. I don't care if you were a teenager not to long ago and what you hid from your parents. I hope your not a cop hater because of some lazy 7thpct cops. I hope you still respect the good cops that take an oath and put their lives on the line for everyone. I do agree and have stated on here many times that the Nassau 7th is a joke and get away with way to much. I do believe that the new Commisinor in Nassau and former chief in NYC and Nassau resident will make things better and weed out the garbage on the job.
Chris Spencer June 02, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Just wish they didn't run into the house. They had to know that this guy was a little mentally un-stable. Theyre's alot of "what ifs" going back and forth. They had to realize that the suspect was very mentally ill, and that he might have been on drugs. But let him baracade inside his room, in the mean time cops can call that special tactical unit or S.W.A.T. (I know-I know, we don't have S.W.A.T.) but theyre's a unit out there for this type of situation. Why follow a suspect wielding knives in that crazy black costume who is clearly not mentally stable into his house, and force themselves into a tiny hallway? They chased him, the cops put themselves in harmsway. I don't know if they were maintaining radio contact at the time, but their supervisor should have told him ok lay back and wait for cover, just form a perimeter till the STU arrives.
Chris Spencer June 02, 2012 at 04:52 AM
We will slowly calm him down and have him come out. They didn't even have to negotiate, his parents weren't hostages, he wasn't attacking them, they were begging not to shoot him. "but if you are a trained police officer and told to shoot at center mass to stop the target"- your acting like there freaking robots. Easily avoidable by establishing a perimeter, do not follow a suspect who has weopens, and is mentally unstable ALL-TOGETHER. At that point your putting yourself in danger. Hmmm I think most "trained cops" would know how to handle this.
Chris Spencer June 02, 2012 at 04:53 AM
They do, but lately they are having trouble and not going by there training, they're going by a random guy with the authority to shoot and kill someone legally. It's a same this kid had to die, and than another officer's life was taken too. For what I heard he was shot in the head. That's not center-mass? I would like to become a cop in the 8th precinct, I'm scared for the younger kids who drink at sumps everyday,
Chris Spencer June 02, 2012 at 04:58 AM
One day a kids going to get shot because the cop saw a reflection from his flashlight to the kids beer can, and say ah crap simple mistake. You got one guy blowing his brains out in Levittown, a guy in east meadow dropping tickets for hot girls so that they can call him,cop having an affair on the tax-payers time, a kid shot to death in front of his own mom and dad, an unsolved murder of Kieran, and all these kids with drug problems. Don't even talk about parenthood. These days, with everything they have now, kids are playing Xbox live when there 7 and have a whole dictionary full of curse words, role models like these rapping gangsters talking about cocaine, gang banging, shootings and money. You have no idea. I heard something like rainbow parties between these little kids at like 6th grade, it's un-believable. So the kid liked knives, and jumped onto a grandmas car, still should have waiting for a special unit. You can't even run into that house without thinking "crap, stuff is going to go down when he opens up that door". Let me correct themselves, "crap, stuff is going to go down when he opens up that door, let's fall back and wait for back up, take the second parties out of the house, and have it cleared.

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