Police Officer Gabriel P. Vitale

Police Officer Gabriel P. Vitale

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Wednesday, December 24, 1980

Add to My Heroes

Gabriel P. Vitale

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 a 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.

The suspects were brothers, both 25. Hours later one fled into his apartment and barricaded himself when five officers attempted to arrest him. He was shot and critically wounded when he threw a grenade at them. His brother, Officer Vitale's killer, was apprehended at a Times Square Hotel 15 days later. On July 27, 1981, both were charged along with two others with the stabbing death of a drug dealer on August 30, 1980. On December 21, 1982 he was convicted of Officer Vitale's murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. His brother was sentenced to 25 years to life for throwing the grenade at the officers. Fortunately it did not explode. On February 22, 1983, both were convicted of the drug dealers murder. Officer Vitale's killer will become eligible for parole in 2042; and his brother in 2032.

Officer Vitale had served with the New York City Police Department for 15 years and was assigned to the 109th Precinct. His wife and four children survived him.


  • Age 42
  • Tour 15 years
  • Badge 17139

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Monday, December 15, 1980
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

burglary, investigation, suspicious person

Most Recent Reflection

View all 38 Reflections

Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice!

Cpt Larry Meyers

December 24, 2023

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.