Police Officer Norman R. Cerullo

Police Officer Norman R. Cerullo

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Sunday, April 2, 1978

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Norman R. Cerullo

Police Officer Norman Cerullo and Police Officer Christie D. Masone were shot and killed after stopping two suspicious men in front of 660 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn.

Officer Cerullo exited the patrol car and spoke to one suspect, while Officer Masone spoke to the other suspect while still seated in the patrol car. After Officer Cerullo had finished speaking to one suspect, he re-entered the patrol car. Officer Masone suddenly exited the vehicle and began to struggle with the one suspect. This suspect then drew a 9 mm handgun from his clothes and began firing at Officer Masone. Officer Cerullo exited the patrol car and began firing at the second suspect. When the gunfire stopped, Officer Masone lay dead. Officer Cerullo was mortally wounded, and one suspect was dead.

The suspect that had been struggling with Officer Masone was struck twice in the legs but was able to get to his car and escape the scene. He was able to travel eight blocks before crashing into a parked car at Summer Avenue (Marcus Garvey Boulevard) and Lexington Avenue. An off-duty officer en route to the hospital to offer assistance to the fallen officers noticed the accident but did not connect it to the shooting. When he arrived at the hospital and was informed of the circumstances of the shooting, he took three uniformed officers, returned to the accident scene, and arrested the suspect.

The arrested suspect was later discovered to be in possession of a loaded .22 Derringer pistol in addition to the 9 mm he used to kill both officers. The suspect killed in the shootout was found to also be in possession of a loaded .22 Derringer pistol.

The suspect that was arrested and charged with murder. Two trials ended in hung juries. The suspect was acquitted of all charges in the third trial. The suspect, who was on parole in Virginia, was sentenced to one year in prison in Virginia for parole violations in connection with this incident.

The suspect is the same person who led a prison revolt at Attica State Prison in New York in 1976 that left seven correctional officers dead. He was later pardoned by New York Governor Hugh Carey and released. After being freed, he was arrested for the murder of Officers Cerullo and Masone. He was later found not guilty in 1980 after three trials. In 1984 the suspect was arrested again for murder. He was later convicted and sentenced to 107 years in prison. He was paroled in 2009.

Officer Cerullo was survived by his wife and three children. He was assigned to the 79th Precinct.


  • Age 29
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 19704

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender One killed; One acquitted

convicted felon, suspicious person

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