Nassau police dumbfounded by line-of-duty death

Nassau County Police Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf was killed in the line of duty on Saturday, March 12, 2011. (Nassau County Police Department)

March 13, 2011 8:30:37 PM PDT
A Nassau County Police Officer was shot and killed Saturday night in Massapequa Park.

It's a line-of-duty death so bizarre and so senseless that veteran police officers are dumbfounded.

"There's nothing bad you can say about Geoff Breitkopf. Since day one he wanted to be the best police officer in the world and he achieved that," Officer Steven Paul said.

Paul served with Geoffrey Breitkopf on Nassau County's elite Bureau of Special Operations. Its members spent Sunday morning trying to understand what happened to their friend.

Breitkopf was shot at the hands of a fellow officer on a bizarre call for a man with knife.

"He leaped in front of my car and started pounding on my windshield," victim Theresa Kelly said.

Just after 8 p.m. Saturday, Kelly found herself face-to-face with Anthony DiGeronimo, 21, a self-described Satanist and Anarchist.

Kelly called 911. Two arriving officers chased DiGeronimo into his house a block away. Police say he was heavily armed with knives and swords.

"He emerged from that room and charged at the officers, hand above head, with a large knife. He was shot and fatally killed by both officers," Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said.

Those officers were soon joined by 8 other cops, including 2 from the MTA ? who had come to help.

They all holstered their weapons and waited for more backup on the front lawn.

Between 8 and 13 minutes later, Officer Breitkopf arrived, in plain clothes, carrying a shotgun pointed at the ground.

That is when investigators say one of the MTA officers shot Breitkopf, killing him.

It isn't clear why the MTA cop thought Breitkopf was a threat as he arrived to back up his brothers in blue.

"Jeff had two boys, 6 and 3, and I can't even talk about it. It's devastating to even think about that," Paul said.

It is the second line-of-duty death of a Nassau County officer so far this year.

Highway patrolman Michael Califano was killed Feb. 5 when a truck slammed into his police cruiser in Old Westbury.

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