Thomas Marrinan, 57, died after he was shot in the torso during a confrontation at 3rd and Church avenues in the Kensington section.
Marrinan heard someone was threatening an 86-year-old man at a nearby pizzeria and stopped in along with a 53-year-old retired correction officer to end the dispute.
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But as they tried to subdue the suspect, identified as 33-year-old Michael Soto, of Brooklyn, the retired correction officer pulled out his gun.
Police say he fired one round, hitting both Marrinan and Soto.
"A physical fight ensued," NYPD Deputy Chief Joseph Gulotta said. "During the fight, the 53-year-old male pulled out his firearm and one round, we believe, was discharged, striking both victims."
They were both taken to Maimonides Medical Center, where the officer was pronounced dead.
"My heart goes out to his family," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. "Really, really horrible loss."
As he was shot, his friends rushed over but were unable to help the man who they say helped everyone.
A woman named Natalie owns the pizza shop where it happened.
"I feel like I lost a brother," she said. "My workers, he'd come in see, how they were doing, if everything was alright, buy coffee, buy them lotto tickets, just an all around wonderful perfect person."
Just seconds before the shooting, he was inside buying a slice. After he heard the commotion out front, one employee asked him, for once, not to go out.
"The slice remained here," Natalie said. "His change of $20 remained over there."
Marrinan lived right around the corner with his wife and son, who he proudly watched graduate from high school last weekend.
His nephew posted a loving tribute, saying, "Whether he was baking cookies for union meetings, making chicken parm for holidays, telling jokes or growing out his hair to donate to charity, Uncle Tommy had a heart of gold!"
But that was just his nature, according to those who knew him.
"He'd give you the shirt off his back," friend Alan Dubrow said. "I literally mean that. He'd walk along Church Avenue, 'You want coffee?'"
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Marrinan retired a few years ago after working in transit and was a PBA delegate.
"Terrible, terrible thing," retired transit employee Ronald Sackeroff said. "You try and do something right, and something like that happens."
It is unknown what led to the initial argument.
Soto has been charged with manslaughter, recklessly causing death, criminally negligent homicide and assault in the second degree.
Soto has six prior arrests. They include:
- May 2020 - Strangulation, domestic
- March 2019 - order of protection violation
- Feb. 2019 - assault, punched person in the nose, likely domestic. Violation of order of protection
- Sept .2018 - robbery, another order of protection violation
- Nov. 2015 - marijuana sale
- Nov. 2006 - possession of a bb gun
The investigation is ongoing.
In less than 24 hours, the community has rallied around the family and contributed over $28,000. Click here to donate to his GoFundMe.
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