Funeral Held For PA Officer Who Died Saving Fellow Officers
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Thousands of police officers, firefighters and other emergency personnel attended a funeral Wednesday for a Port Authority police officer who managed to escaped the World Trade Center after last Tuesday's attack but tunneled back in to save his fellow officers.
Some came from as far away as Maryland to attend the funeral for officer Dominick Pezzulo, which was held at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Pelham Bay
"He risked his life," said Sgt. John Noto of Highway Patrol 1. "He lost his life trying to save a fellow officer, I mean, that says it all right there."
Pezzullo wasn't at the World Trade Center at the time of the first attack, but upon hearing the news he got on a bus along with several other officers and rushed over. He saved the lives of two officers the day of the World Trade Center attacks, before losing his own.
"Dominick was assigned to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and when the first explosion occurred, he and other police officers commandeered a city bus and went down to the scene," said Gus Danese of the Port Authority PBA.
Pezzullo was caught in the rubble of the trade center, but managed to tunnel his way out. He then realized other officers were inside.
"He went back literally to the same tunnel and saved his brother officer who is in serious and critical condition now in the hospital," said Rev. Donald Dwyer of Our Lady of the Assumption. "He was unfortunately not able to come back. Another surge of rubble came and covered him and killed him."
It's a story that has touched the hearts of many residents in this section of the Bronx.
"I did not know Dominick personally but he's part of my family," said Louise Napolitano, a Bronx resident. "He's part of humanity, he's part of America, and he's part of New York."
"I came to say a prayer for him, but most of all I pray for his survivors, his wife and his children," said Bronx resident Isabel Goetz.
The Pastor of Our Lady of Assumption recalls one of the last conversations he ever had with Pezzullo and his son outside the church just weeks ago.
"I shook hands with his son and I said Dominick - a little 7-year-old - I was kidding with him and I said, 'Dominick are you a tough guy?' And he said to me, 'No, I'm not a tough guy,' thinking he was in trouble, 'but my daddy's a tough guy.'"