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Neighbor to Neighbor: They truly were heroes, and can’t be forgotten

On Wednesday, May 9, about 1,500 people gathered at 168-02 P.O. Edward R. Byrne Avenue in Jamaica (the location of the...

By Barbara Morris

All too seldom the general public thinks about those who have paid the ultimate price to try to protect our communities and country.

On Wednesday, May 9, about 1,500 people gathered at 168-02 P.O. Edward R. Byrne Avenue in Jamaica (the location of the 103rd Precinct) to do Just that — to honor those on THE WALL OF HEROES. Large tents had been erected to protect guests from the heat and sun as the names and histories of seven deceased heroes were read:

Inspector Thomas V. Boylan, a 30-year N.Y.P.D. veteran, was out on patrol as the new commanding officer of the 22nd Division, housed at the 103rd Precinct, trying to get to know the continuity better, on April 5, 1952. At about 8:25 a.m. a cargo plane hit a row of houses on 169th Street and 80th Avenue, sending debris into the police car in which Inspector Boylan and his driver, Patrolman William O’Shea were riding, Although Patrolman O’Shea survived, Inspector Boylan died instantly.

Patrolman William Long (Badge No. 15186) had completed two years service with the N.Y.P.D. on Sept. 1, 1956. The next night, while on late tour at a parking garage on 165th Street near Archer Avenue, he saw a man breaking into parked cars. While attempting to arrest the suspect, the perpetrator shot Patrolman Long in the chest, In spite of his grave injuries, he managed to give a passing retired detective information that led to the capture of the gunman. Patrolman Long died at Mary Immaculate Hospital at 6:50 a.m.

By the time Patrolman Kenneth A. Nugent (Badge No. 16022) had served 13 years with the N.Y.P.D., he was highly regarded as a smart, courageous officer who had survived two gun battles with robbery suspects in which the suspects were killed. However, on his way to work August 20, 1971, he stopped at a store on Hollis Avenue at 207th Street. As he entered, an employee told him the store was being robbed. Patrolman Nugent identified himself as an officer and drew his gun. Two or three robbers fired at him, Though wounded, Patrolman Nugent returned fire, killing one. The remaining robbers were eventually arrested. Patrolman Nugent died August 21, 1971 at Long Island Jewish Hospital.

Detective William Capers (Shield No. 945), a 19-year veteran assigned to the 16th Detective Squad, was working in plainclothes near Jamaica Avenue with his partner. As they questioned three men acting suspiciously near a bank, one of the men bolted away. Detective Capers pursued him as his partner held the two others. When Detective Capers caught, and struggled with the suspect, Detective Capers’ gun fired which attracted a nearby uniformed officer on traffic duty who did not know Detective Capers and shot him after seeing his gun, mortally wounding him, This tragic April 3, 1972 incident put in place policies and procedures used to assist police officers in identifying one another, especially between uniformed and plainclothed officers.

Patrolman Timothy Hurley (Badge No. 14338) and his partner received a call, "robbery in -progress" at a bar at about 1 a.m. March 9, 1974. When the two officers arrived, one man leaving the bar with several others, yelled, “They’re still in the bar!” As the officers focused their attention toward the bar, the man who had yelled began firing at them. Patrolman Hurley returned fire, as did his partner, but died a short time later from three bullet wounds. The suspect's neighbors turned him in to police.

Patrolman Thomas V. Pegues (Badge No. 18106), with his partner, on Aug. 20, 1974, (and just over one year with the N.Y.P.D.), was doing car stops to check driver's credentials. One male motorist was removed from his car since his license had been suspended, at which time the passenger fired at both officers, wounding Patrolman Pegues mortally in the back. He died a short time later. After attempting to flee, both suspects were arrested.

Police Officer Edward R. Byrne (Badge No. 14072) on Feb. 26, 1988, was guarding the home of a family who had defied drug dealers and agreed to testify against them. At about 3:30 a.m., four armed men, without warning, ambushed Officer Byrne, firing into his car and hitting him several times. This incident prompted communities to work closely with the N.Y.P.D. and inspired the N.Y.P.D, to create the Tactical Narcotics Team and the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit.

Visit The Wall of Heroes at Pct. 103.

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