VAN NEST, Bronx (WABC) --It's a searing, gut-wrenching ritual for the NYPD. At Jacobi Medical Center Friday night, a special ambulance carried away the body of a hero.
NYPD Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, who came to work Friday, the way he's done for 19 years, but will never go home.
"I always talk about what a great job this is, but there's nothing worse than a day like today," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.
PHOTOS: Two sergeants shot in the Bronx
The chaotic firefight played out on a crisp fall afternoon in a small neighborhood off the Bronx River Parkway.
Tuozzolo and other cops responded to a report of a home invasion. Police say 35-year-old Manuel Rosales had forced his way into the home of his estranged wife, and held her and other family members, including the couple's 3-year-old son and another 13-year-old child, for several hours before leaving in his red SUV. The family called 911.
"The radio dispatcher advised them the suspect had just fled the scene and was driving a red Jeep," O'Neill said.
A few minutes later, officers spotted the Jeep in front stopped, a half mile away from the family's house.
Police sources say they have surveillance video of what happened next, showing Tuozzolo approach the suspect, who suddenly pulled a gun and opened fire, hitting the sergeant in the face at point blank range.
"There were police cars passing by me and right at that moment there were eight or nine shots at least," a witness said.
"I didn't think they were shots, I thought they were fireworks," another witness said.
Another sergeant was hit in the leg. Other officers, including a trainee who'd been riding along, returned fire, killing Rosales in his driver's seat.
"Both sergeants were immediately transported to Jacobi hospital. Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, a 19-year veteran, was later pronounced deceased at the hospital. Sgt. Emmanuel Kwo, a nine-year veteran, was shot in the leg and is in stable condition," O'Neill said.
For hours cops scoured the scene for tiniest bits of evidence. In all, sources say as many as 20 shots were fired there.
And late Friday night at the 43 precinct, where Tuozzolo worked as a patrol sergeant for a decade, cadets lined up to salute his officers as they began to process this numbing loss.
"An NYPD sergeant was shot and killed while doing his job, while trying to keep the people of New York City safe," O'Neill said.
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Police say Rosales had an extensive criminal history with 17 arrests in Suffolk County.
Governor Andrew Cuomo released the following statement:
"Every day, the brave men and women of law enforcement selflessly serve our communities to keep the rest of us safe. Today, a sergeant in the New York City Police Department has made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, and another officer is undergoing treatment. My deepest sympathies are with the families of the officers involved in today's tragedy in the Bronx, and with Commissioner O'Neill and the NYPD as they cope with the loss of one of their own."