RPD Line of Duty Death

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

Daryl Pierson  
Officer Daryl R. Pierson
End of Watch: Sept. 3, 2014
 

Rochester Police Officer Daryl R. Pierson was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sept. 3, 2014. Updates and statements by Mayor Lovely Warren and Chief Michael Ciminelli regarding this tragic incident will be posted to this page. 

Officer Pierson was hired by the Rochester Police Department on Aug. 21, 2006. He was assigned to the Tactical Unit.

During his eight-year career as a police officer for the City of Rochester, Officer Pierson served with distinction, and received the following awards and commendations:

  • Eleven “Chief’s Letters of Recognition”, most of which were for removing illegal firearms from the streets of Rochester.
  • The Rochester Police Department’s “Officer of the Month Award” for September, 2010; and,
  • The Rochester Police Department’s “Good Conduct Award”, given to Officer Pierson last year in 2013.

Officer Pierson was also a member of the United States Army National Guard.

Officer Pierson leaves behind a wife and two children, whose ages are 4-years-old and 3-months-old.

He was 32.

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Statement from Police Chief Michael Ciminelli Regarding Sentencing of Thomas Johnson
July 16, 2015

With today’s sentencing, the murderer of Officer Daryl Pierson has been brought to justice.

On behalf of the Rochester Police Department I thank Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley and her staff for all of their efforts in achieving this result.

We also express our gratitude to Mayor Lovely Warren and the entire City Administration for their steadfast support.

We are grateful to all of our law enforcement partners in Monroe County for standing with us throughout this ordeal.

We are also thankful to so many in the Rochester community for their support during this tragedy, and for the generous financial donations to help Officer Pierson’s family.

While justice has been done in this case it does not restore the loss suffered by Officer Pierson’s family and loved ones, so please always remember them.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to again thank the men and women of the Rochester Police Department for your continuing service, courage, and dedication to the Rochester community.

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Photo Gallery from Memorial Service
10:30 a.m. Sept. 10, 2014

 

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Funeral  Arrangements

Funeral Service: A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept 10 at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial at the Blue Cross Arena, 100 Exchange St., Rochester N.Y. 14614 (map).

Order of Events During the Funeral: 

  • Following Tuesday night's calling hours, Officer Pierson will lay in state at the Public Safety Building. This is the only time set aside for the family and Officer Pierson’s fellow officers to mourn in private. The building will not be accessible to the media or the public.
  • The funeral is open to the public. The Blue Cross Arena will open at 9:30 a.m. All guests are asked to be seated by 10:30 a.m.
  • Public seating will be in the upper tiers of the BCA. Floor seating is reserved for the family, members of RPD and dignitaries.
  • The service will be broadcast live on all local stations, City12 and on the City of Rochester website.
  • There will be no photography allowed inside the building, including cell phone photography – with the exception of official City of Rochester photographers and the Democrat and Chronicle photographers.
  • The procession will leave the Public Safety Building at approximately 10:30 a.m. The procession will exit the PSB to Plymouth and proceed east up Broad Street towards the Blue Cross Arena. The order of procession will be:
    • Motorcycles
    • Tactical Unit Car 44
    • Hearse
    • Family limos/bus
    • 2 Tactical Unit cars with pall bearers 
  • The service is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
  • The order of service will be:
    • Welcome and Statement of Purpose by Reverend Mitch Evans, Pastor, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in East Rochester
    • Eulogies:
      • Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy
      • Mayor Lovely Warren
      • Chief Michael Ciminelli
      • Lt. Eric Paul of the RPD Tactical Unit
      • Sgt. Steven Kennedy of the RPD Tactical Unit
      • Officer Rich Ortiz of the RPD Tactical Unit
      • Father Don Wollschleger, Trinity Communion Church
      • Brett Pierson, Daryl’s brother
      • Amy Pierson, Daryl’s wife
      • Rev. Mitch Evans, Daryl’s father-in-law 
  • Message of hope (John 11:25) will be delivered by Rev. Evans, followed by a closing prayer led by Father Wollschleger.
  • Following the service, the audience will be asked to remain in their seats while the family, Chief Ciminelli, Mayor Warren, Lt. Governor Duffy, RPD Command staff and a select few others will process outside of the BCA for a 21-gun salute, the presenting of flags to the family and a fly-over by the State Police helicopter. These events will be broadcast to the audience inside the BCA.
  • Please remember that despite the venue, this is a religious service. Reporters and guests inside the Blue Cross Arena are asked to decline from posting to social media from inside the service to respect the decorum of such an event. Reporters outside the BCA will have ready access to the broadcast and can post to social media from outside the facility, so this restriction will in no way impede reporting of the event.
  • After the service, the family and members of RPD will proceed to the cemetery. The interment will be a White Haven Cemetery and will be private at the request of the family. However, we understand that individuals may want to be along the route to pay their final respects to Officer Pierson. The route of the procession from the BCA to White Haven Cemetery will be via 490 East to the Fairport exit at 31 F and route 31F to Marsh Road.
  • All downtown businesses are respectfully requested to lower their flags to half-staff tomorrow. 

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Calling Hours: Officer Pierson's family will hold calling hours from 2  to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday Sept. 8 and Tuesday Sept. 9 at Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home, 1411 Vintage Lane,  Greece N.Y., 14626 (map) 

Funeral Service: A Memorial Service will be held at  11 a.m.  Wednesday, Sept 10  at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial at the Blue Cross Arena, 100 Exchange St.,  Rochester N.Y. 14614 (map). RPD  personnel are requested  to arrive at 9:30 a.m.

Live Broadcasts: The City of Rochester will broadcast the memorial service on Wednesday, September 10, starting at 11 a.m. on City 12 TV. The live feed, provided by the Blue Cross Arena and Time Warner Cable News, will also be streamed on the City’s website at www.cityofrochester.gov/policememorial.

 Parking -  For RPD personnel not going to the cemetery and all other persons attending the funeral, parking will be provided in the area of Frontier Field  (map). The first lot we will fill is at State Street and Morrie Silver Way. We will then move to secondary locations as that fills. Personnel will be on scene to facilitate parking. 

Reception - There will be a reception at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center 123 E. Main Street following the funeral service. It will be from 1-4 p.m.

Hotel information - To  find information on hotels offering special rates for funeral  attendees,  please visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rochester-NY-Police-Department/403845733028894 

Motorist Advisory for Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - In order to accommodate the Funeral Service for Officer Daryl R. Pierson, the following Downtown street closures and restrictions will be observed from 8  a.m. to 1:30  p.m.

  • Broad Street - from South Avenue to Fitzhugh Street - CLOSED
  • Broad Street – from Plymouth Avenue to Fitzhugh Street - LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY
  • Exchange Street - from Court Street to Broad Street – CLOSED
  • Exchange Street - from Main Street to Broad Street – LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY
  • Exchange Street – from Plymouth Avenue to Court Street – LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY .

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To Help: Condolences and Donations

Rochester Police Department News Release 

Friday, Sept. 5, 6:30 p.m. 


All members of the Rochester Police Department (RPD) are extremely grateful for the outpouring of compassion and support we have received following the tragic murder of RPD Officer Daryl Pierson. Officer Pierson leaves behind a wife, a 4-year-old son, and a 3-month-old daughter. We have received inquiries from many persons on how to send cards, letters, and expressions of sympathy and support. In order to ease the burden on Officer Pierson’s family during this trying time, we are requesting that cards and letters be sent to the following address:

  • The Family of Officer Daryl Pierson
    c/o The Rochester Police Locust Club, Inc.
    1425 Lexington Avenue
    Rochester, New York 14606

We have also received numerous inquiries from people who would like to make donations to Officer Pierson’s family. In order to ensure that any donations are expeditiously received by Officer Pierson’s family, RPD and the Locust Club recommend the following:

At this time, neither the Rochester Police Department nor the Locust Club has any affiliation with any other fund-raisers or fundraising mechanisms on behalf of Officer Pierson’s family.

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Suspect Information

Thomas Johnson III 

Charged with:

  • Aggravated Murder
  • Attempted Aggravated Murder
  • First Degree Assault
  • Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon (3 counts)
  • Second Degree Criminal Possession of Weapon (two counts)

If convicted on all charges, Johnson will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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Sept. 4 News Conference: 5:30 p.m.
Public Safety Building

Synopsis of Incident 955 Hudson Avenue 

 On Wednesday Sept 3, 2014: 

  • Approximately 9:19 p.m.: RPD Tactical Officers stopped a vehicle. When they first observed the vehicle, it contained two people. When they stopped it, there was only one person in the vehicle.
  • At about 9:20 p.m.: Officer DiPaola and Officer Pierson arrived as back up for this vehicle stop.
  • At about 9:22 p.m.: Officer DiPaola and Officer Pierson began to search the area for the second individual who had been observed in the vehicle. Officer DiPaola was driving the police vehicle and Officer Pierson was the passenger. 
  • At about 9:25 p.m.: Officer DiPaola and Officer Pierson observed an individual matching the description of the second occupant of the vehicle. Officer Pierson exited the police vehicle and approached the person who matched the description. This individual immediately fled Southbound on Hudson Avenue.
    • Officer Pierson pursued this individual on foot, while Officer DiPaola turned the police vehicle around to assist in the pursuit.
    • Officer Pierson caught up to the suspect at Hudson Avenue and Agnes Street. At that point, the suspect shot Officer Pierson one time with 25 caliber handgun. This wound proved to be fatal.
    • 0fficer Pierson and the suspect both fell to the ground. As they fell, the suspect’s 25 caliber handgun discharged a second time. We believe this second shot from the suspect’s handgun, struck the innocent bystander, Jamal Boller, 24 years of age, causing a serious, but a non-life threatening injury.
    • The suspect then got up and continued to flee on foot. By that time, Officer DiPaola exited his police vehicle and pursued the suspect. As the suspect was running, he turned to fire at Officer DiPaola.
    • Officer DiPaola then fired one round at the suspect with his RPD issued handgun. Officer DiPaola’s shot struck the suspect causing a non-life threatening injury.
    • Officer DiPaola then apprehended the suspect.
     
  • At about this point, other RPD Officers arrived on scene, and then placed Officer Pierson in a police vehicle, transporting him to Rochester General Hospital.
  • Officer Pierson was pronounced by Rochester General Medical Staff at 10:45 p.m. 
  • Both the suspect and Mr. Boller were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment. Boller was treated and released.
  • The suspect underwent surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital, and is currently admitted to the hospital under police guard.
  • The suspect has been identified as: Thomas Johnson III, a male, 38 years of age. We later determined that Mr. Johnson has an outstanding Parole Warrant.

Statement by Mayor Warren: 

 It has been a challenging 24 hours for the City of Rochester as we have dealt with the loss of one of our own. 

Now that more details have been revealed about the shooting on Hudson Avenue last night, it is more important now than ever to come together as a community to support the Rochester Police Department and the Pierson family. 

I commend District Attorney Sandra Doorley for her swift action. Let the word get out: if you bring violence into our city, we will pursue vigorous prosecution. 

We mourn together as our Police Department starts down the path of mending a wound that we know will never completely heal. The Rochester Police Department is a family, our city’s family, and we appreciate each one of them because even though they have lost a brother, they are still out there this evening, protecting and serving. 

Keep our city in your thoughts and prayers. Let’s be kind to one another, and show compassion. This is how we keep our community strong. 

I’d like to thank everyone who has reached out to us, especially Police Departments from across the country, elected officials, Rochester General Hospital and our own citizens. 

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Sept 4 News Conference, 11:30 a.m.
Public Safety Building

Statement by Chief Ciminelli: 

Ciminelli--MichaelI am here to update you with some information regarding the fatal shooting of a Rochester Police Officer.

At about 9:25 p.m. last night, Officer Daryl R. Pierson was shot and killed pursuing a suspect at 955 Hudson Avenue in the City of Rochester.

Officer Pierson was hired by the Rochester Police Department on August 21st, 2006. He was assigned to the Tactical Unit.

During his eight-year career as a police officer for the City of Rochester, Officer Pierson served with distinction, and received the following awards and commendations:

  • Eleven “Chief’s Letters of Recognition”, most of which were for removing illegal firearms from the streets of Rochester.
  • The Rochester Police Department’s “Officer of the Month Award” for September, 2010; and,
  • The Rochester Police Department’s “Good Conduct Award”, given to Officer Pierson last year in 2013.

Officer Pierson was also a member of the United States Army National Guard.

Officer Pierson leaves behind a wife and two children, whose ages are 4-years-old and 3-months-old.

He was 32.

Officer Pierson’s partner last night was Officer Michael Dipaola. Officer Dipaola returned fire and wounded the suspect, and apprehended him.

Officer Dipaola was hired by the Rochester Police Department on July 30, 2007.

Officer Dipaola is also assigned to the Tactical Unit.

During his seven-year career as a police officer for the City of Rochester, Officer Dipaola received the following awards:

  • Two Chief’s Letters of Recognition; and,
  • The Rochester Police Department’s “Excellent Police Service Award”, given to Officer Dipaola for actions taken by him in rescuing occupants from a burning vehicle.

Officer Dipaola is a member of the United States Army Reserve.

Officer Dipaola is 41 years of age.

At this time, we will not be taking questions. Later today, we will do another press update, jointly with the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, in order to provide you with more details regarding the incident, and the status of the investigation.

Words cannot express the sadness and grief we all feel at the loss of our brother, Officer Daryl Pierson. Daryl made the ultimate sacrifice by courageously giving his life protecting the City of Rochester. During this difficult time I know that the Rochester community will join together with us to honor our fallen comrade, and support his family.

Daryl’s sacrifice is a reflection and a reminder of the dangers that all police officers face each and every day. I thank and honor all of our Rochester Police Officers for their courage and dedication. Please keep Daryl and his family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.

Mayor Warren's Comments: 

Mayor-Lovely-Warren-webToday, I join with Chief Ciminelli, RPD, the Citizens of Rochester and the family of Officer Pierson in mourning this tragic event. An innocent bystander was shot and Officer Pierson a man with young children, lost his life defending each and every one of us.

As I was getting my daughter dressed for school today as he did yesterday with his son… I began to think about how often I take for granted the fact that I am returning home to my family safely at night. I began to think about as a community how we often put our work clothes on and walk out the front door freely without the thought ever crossing our mind that we would not be doing the same thing the next or the next day after that. And then I began to think about Officer Pierson, the brave men and women of our Police Department who put on their uniform everyday and I wondered if it ever crossed their mind as they got dressed, sent their kids off to school and kissed their loved ones that they wouldn’t be returning. I concluded that it must cross their mind but they are dedicated people, dedicated to their fellow men and women and dedicated to the people of this Great City and that is why in spite of that thought they put on the uniform, walked out the door and into a day of service.

To his wife, there are no words that can diminish your pain…and, to his children…no explanation can be given to ease the hurt you feel. As a mother, this tragedy goes to the core of all of our greatest fears.

I ask that the people of our community understand the great sacrifice that Officer Pierson made last night. He lost his life trying to protect and to serve. There are few incidents that change the course of a City and I am praying that this one pulls this community together, that we stand united in seeking justice, that we stand united in showing compassion to the men and women of our police department.

I ask the citizens of our community to stop… when you see an officer today and everyday from this day forward and take a moment to walk in their shoes. And then, reach out and shake their hand and thank them for their service. Tell them that they are not alone and show them compassion.

To the people who want to disrupt this City…it is unrealistic for any of us to believe that we can stop you from making a tragic decision to pull that trigger however I make this promise to you. If you pull that trigger we will hold you accountable for your actions. This Administration will not sit by idly while you wreak havoc on the citizens of our City. We will utilize the tools available to us to ensure that justice is served and that you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Thus I am calling on our state leaders to work with me to review the policies as it pertains to the release of parolees into the community. In the near future I, along with the Chief, will pull together a meeting with all law enforcement agencies to put a renewed emphasis on getting illegal guns off our streets with the help of our religious leaders and Project Exile.

As a mother with a young daughter, the threat of illegal guns on our streets and the threat they pose to our children and our citizens will not be tolerated. Our forthcoming efforts will be done with Officer Pierson, his wife and children at the forefront of our minds, to ensure justice for him, and to make this community safer for our officers and citizens alike. Thank you.

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Sept. 4 News Conference: 1:15 a.m.
Rochester General Hospital

Chief Ciminelli's Statement: 

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I come before you to announce that tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 3) we have lost one of our own: A Police Officer who gave his life in the line of duty, who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the people of the city of Rochester.

Our preliminary information is -- and I stress that this is preliminary -- that at 9:25 p.m. in the vicinity of Hudson Avenue and Warsaw Street, officers pursued an individual. In the course of the pursuit there was an exchange of gunfire, during which our officer sustained a fatal gunshot wound. The suspect was also shot and is currently in surgery (as of 1:15 a.m). There are no additional suspects outstanding.

Also, an innocent bystander received a gunshot wound, and we are informed this injury is not life threatening.

At this point, there is no additional information I can release as this investigation is ongoing.

We will be in a position to release more detailed information (later Thursday).

On behalf of all the men and women of the Rochester Police Department, I want to express our deepest condolences to the family.

We and the Rochester community have lost someone very important to all of us. We ask for your prayers and support during this difficult time.

Mayor Warren's Initial Statement: 

Words simply cannot express the sense of sorrow and deep loss that we feel at this moment. A family has lost a loved one. The men and women of the RPD have lost a family member and a friend. And we, the people of Rochester, have lost someone who, like every RPD officer, put his life on the line for us every day.

I ask that everyone join me in keeping the family and all our officers in our prayers.

SEE ALSO

Crime Prevention