Tributes pour in for retired cop killed in Brooklyn

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The retired cop killed in a scuffle-gone-awry in Brooklyn was a doting dad and beloved neighborhood fixture, kin and pals said Tuesday — as authorities pushed for more details on exactly how he died.

Former NYPD Transit Officer Thomas Marrinan, 57, was accidentally shot and killed by his pal Robert Velasquez, 53, Monday evening during a fight with a third man that broke out at a pizzeria in Kensington, authorities said.

Investigators with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office were set to talk to both Velasquez and the other man, Michael Soto, on Tuesday to get more details on what happened before determining whether to press charges against anyone, law enforcement sources told The Post.

Sources said Soto is in police custody in the hospital, recovering from a bullet wound to his left arm.

A witness who captured some of the shooting’s aftermath on video told The Post on Tuesday that he was driving by the pizza joint when “I heard a shot and pulled over.

“Soto was holding his arm, and I saw he was shot. He said, ‘Can you help me?’

“But I told him, ‘This is a crime scene. I can’t put you in my car and take you to the hospital,’ ” said the man, who asked not to be identified.

“He was drunk, I could smell it on him,” the witness said of Soto. “He was also bleeding a lot.”

The alleged 33-year-old suspect (center) is seen during the scuffle by Korner Pizza in Brooklyn.
The alleged 33-year-old suspect (center) is seen during the scuffle by Korner Pizza in Brooklyn.

Marrinan rushed to the eatery after Velasquez, a retired correction officer, called him for help, saying there was an unruly man at the pizza joint hassling Velasquez’s elderly father, police said.

He was fatally shot, however, when the fight spilled out onto the sidewalk — and Velasquez pulled out his gun and discharged one round, striking Marrinan and Soto, according to police.

Meanwhile, dramatic footage showed Velasquez desperately urging his dying friend to “stay with me” as Marrinan’s wife wept near him.

“Wake up! Wake up!’’ pleaded other neighborhood friends of the mortally wounded former cop, the witness said.

Marrinan had just celebrated his son Joseph’s high school graduation over the weekend — and was the kind of guy who grew his hair long to donate to cancer kids, loved ones said.

“If anybody needed help, he was the guy to call,” a tear-filled nephew said of Marrinan to the local CBS-TV affiliate.

“He’s the reason I became a cop — he helps people without thinking about himself,” the man said.

Marrinan and his son, both redheads, had always been inseparable, family and friends said.

“They were like twins,’’ Marrinan’s nephew said.

Neighbor Steve Auster told The Post that Marrinan “was extremely excited” about his only child’s graduation. The dead man’s wife, Annam, proudly posted a photo of their boy on Facebook in his cap and gown.

The victim had been a Police Benevolent Association union delegate and would sometimes tote his boy along to meetings, a law enforcement source added.

“He was always with the son, doing everything with and for him,” the source said of Marrinan.

Bystanders watch NYPD officers investigate the scene of a fatal shooting near E 3rd St. & Church Avenue in Brooklyn on June 7, 2021.
Bystanders watch NYPD officers investigate the scene of a fatal shooting near East 3rd Street & Church Avenue in Brooklyn on June 7, 2021.
James Keivom

Yasser Abou, who owns the Hot Bagels shop down the street from the pizzeria on Church Avenue, called Marrinan “the last good man standing on Earth.

“He would buy me lottery cards,’’ Abou told The Post. “I’ve known him for 35 years. … If he saw an officer in here, he would buy coffee for them because he said he used to be a cop.”

A woman who owns the Korner Pizzeria outside which Marrinan died said he also bought “my workers lottery tickets.”

“He is a staple in the neighborhood. He helped anyone,’’ said the owner, who declined to give her name. “His family would come here four times a week.”

Amjad Saied, manager at the Magic Deli on the street, added, “I was crying this morning when I found out” about Marrinan’s death.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea hailed Marrinan in a tweet Tuesday.

“Even after he retired, he continued to protect his fellow New Yorkers. Rest in peace, Tommy,” the city’s top cop wrote.

A bouquet of flowers is left in tribute to fallen retired transit officer Thomas Marrinan outside Korner Pizza in Brooklyn on June 8, 2021.
A bouquet of flowers is left in tribute to fallen retired transit officer Thomas Marrinan outside Korner Pizza in Brooklyn on June 8, 2021.
James Keivom

In addition, Shea retweeted a tribute from NYPD Transit that said Marrinan had left an “indelible mark during his years of service in Transit District 30.

“Those who worked alongside Tommy will never forget the care he took in looking out for everyone,” the Transit tweet said above a memorial photo of Marrinan.

Korner Pizzeria said Tuesday on Facebook that it was closed for the day “to honor and respect Officer Thomas Marrinan and family.”

“He always watched out for our staff and always when passing the store asks if we needed anything,” the posting said. “When the lottery jackpot was Big he would always buy tickets for all of our staff.

“Officer Thomas Marrinan, his Wife Anna & Son Joseph were all family to us. He will Truly be Missed.”

Additional reporting by Joe Marino



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