A look at the eight-year career of Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson

Updated: 09/04/2014 5:18 PM
Created: 09/04/2014 5:03 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen

Thursday was a difficult day for everyone at the Public Safety Building as everyone was reminded the dangers of their jobs. While mourning the loss of Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson, the Police Chief says they will not be deterred.  

Investigators were on the scene all night Wednesday and most of Thursday morning piecing together what led up to Wednesday night's deadly police shooting. Family, friends and colleagues of Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson were left to grieve as a stunned community tried to understand what happened.

Locust Club President Michael Mazzeo said, "I hope these next few days can be as painless as possible for a family who has lost a loved one, but that's not really going to be the case."

Officer Pierson was a husband and father of a four-year-old and a three-month-old. He served his country as a member of the U.S. Army National Guard and he served his community as an eight-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department earning many distinctions and commendations during that time.

"The irony that this officer put his life on the line many times in the past and, in fact, was recognized for taking 10 illegal guns off the street himself over the course of his career I think speaks volumes for what kind of officer he was," said Chief Michael Ciminelli.

On Wednesday night, Pierson and his partner Officer Michael DiPaolo were trying to arrest a parole absconder on Hudson Avenue. Thomas Johnson III, 38, went to prison on an attempted robbery conviction.

While in foot pursuit, police say the suspect fatally shot Pierson. DiPaolo then returned fire, wounding Johnson. A third person, a bystander, was also injured in the shooting.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Mayor Lovely Warren expressed sadness and sympathy, and called on citizens to pause and take a moment to walk in the shoes of police. "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 serve," Warren said.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with black bands covering their shields, Pierson's fellow officers listened as their chief searched for words to describe their loss.

Chief Ciminelli said, "Myself and the two deputy chiefs have been going to every roll call and talking to every officer we can and frankly, I've run out of words. You've hear references to the law enforcement family. This is a true family."

Officers who arrived at the scene last night did carry Pierson to a patrol car and rushed him to a hospital. The chief credited doctors at Rochester General, saying they acted with fury to try to save him, but unable to pull off a miracle.


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