Wake held for Nassau Co. Officer Breitkopf

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

March 16, 2011 1:21:54 PM PDT
On a cold and damp afternoon, as dreary as it was depressing, friends and family remembered Geoffrey Breitkopf, a veteran police officer and Selden volunteer firefighter, who gave his life protecting the public.

"I apologize, I have a hard time with this, cause we were very close," said a fellow officer.

But for Breitkopf's police brothers, his loss is even more painful because of the reason he died.

A tragic chain of errors in the tumultuous few minutes, after officers shot an armed man in a Massapequa Park house.

Almost a dozen officers rushed to assist, including two from the MTA, and Breitkopf, a plainclothes officer with Nassau County's elite Bureau of Special Operations.

And then, the wildcard:

"It probably makes it a little worse knowing that it's a retired police officer interfering what we're doing at a crime scene. He of all people should know that distractions can be fatal," said Nassau PBA President James Carver.

Carver blames a 58-year-old retired NYPD sergeant with starting a panic.

He spotted Breitkopf, out of uniform and carrying a rifle, and allegedly shouted "gun."

It startled the MTA officers, one of whom shot Breitkopf nearly at point blank range, killing the married father of two.

"Maybe this guy thought he was going to be the hero. The bottom line is we have a police officer who is now dead because he shouldn't have been at the scene, he shouldn't have been yelling out orders, he shouldn't have been yelling out 'gun'," Carver said.

The retired cop lives minutes from the scene. Several 7th precinct officers say he has a reputation for listening to his police scanner and meddling in their calls.

But, the police union is out for blood, calling on the Nassau County District Attorney to file criminal charges.

At an event Wednesday, she refused to take questions about the case, but her office says the investigation is still ongoing.

That isn't good enough for Officer John LaSala. He worked side-by-side with Geoff Breitkopf for years, and he wants justice for his friend.

"We sign up for this. We can understand if we're dealing with a bad guy and they get lucky and win. This we can't understand. There was nothing here that should have led to this happening," LaSala said.

Donations and funeral arrangements

In response to the outpouring of support of those seeking to send donations for the family of Nassau County Police Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf who was killed in the line of duty on March 12, 2011, donations can be made to the Geoffrey J. Breitkopf Memorial Fund, c/o Nassau County P.B.A., 89 E. Jericho Tpke., Mineola, NY 11501. Officer Breitkopf leaves behind a wife and two young boys.

Viewing and Funeral Service:

The public is invited to pay their respects at the Selden Fire Department Headquarters, 44 Woodmere Place, Selden, New York, on Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Funeral services for Officer Geoffrey J. Breitkopf will be held at St. Margaret of Scotland Roman Catholic Church, 81 College Road, Selden, New York, on Friday, March 18, 2011, at 12:30 p.m.

Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 3442 Route 112, Coram, New York.

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