Coronavirus News: Long Island police sergeant of almost 20 years dies of COVID-19

SANDS POINT, Long Island (WABC) -- A police sergeant at a small town in Long Island lost his battle to coronavirus just months before celebrating his 20th year with the department.

The quiet community of Sands Point, with just 20 police officers, has never had a line of duty death until the passing of 52-year-old Sgt. Joseph Spinosa on Wednesday due to COVID-19.

Spinosa would have commemorated 20 years with the department this September.

In his nearly two decades at Sands Point Police Department, Spinosa was described as a gentle giant.

Police Chief Thomas Ruehle says everyone loved him and he was the department's grill master cook.

Nearly five years ago, a woman named Erica Fagelman was alone on a run when she experienced a severe medical emergency requiring an EpiPen.

The officer who responded and saved her life was Spinosa.

On Thursday when Fagelman, who is a doctor now, learned the fate of that brave officer, she said it was unfair.

The police sergeant lived a quiet life with his 78-year-old mother in Hicksville and the department is making sure that he gets an honorable burial even in these uncertain times.

Fagelman says that she would not be here in New York helping people if it wasn't for Officer Spinosa.

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