Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 15 years
Badge # 17139
Incident Date: 12/15/1980
Weapon: Handgun; .45 caliber
Offender: Convicted of murder
Police Officer Gabriel Vitale succumbed to gunshot wounds received after he and his partner stopped two suspicious men while investigating a burglary near the intersection of 35th Avenue and 150th Street, in Flushing.
Officer Vitale and his partner were on foot patrol near an area where there was call about a burglary. The officers observed two suspicious men in the area and attempted to question them. When they approached the men the two fled in different directions. Officer Vitale subdued one at gunpoint. Becoming concerned for his partner he holstered his weapon to use his radio. At that time the suspect drew a .45 caliber handgun and opened fire, fatally wounding Officer Vitale, who was not wearing a vest.
The suspect fled into his apartment where he was later shot and wounded by officers following a barricade in which he threw a grenade at officers. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 61 years to life in prison. He is eligible for parole in December 2041.
Officer Vitale had served with the New York City Police Department for 15 years and was assigned to the 109th Precinct. He was survived by his wife and four children.