Police Officer Rocco W. Laurie

Police Officer Rocco W. Laurie

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Thursday, January 27, 1972

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Rocco W. Laurie

Officer Rocco Laurie and Officer Gregory Foster were assassinated by members of the Black Liberation Army while walking their patrol beat on Avenue B and East 11th Street in the 9th Precinct.

As they were walking down the street, three or four suspects walked past them, spun around, and opened fire, shooting them in their backs. After the officers fell, the killers took their handguns and shot them several more times.

On Feb. 14, 1972, one of two suspects was shot and killed in a gun battle with police in St. Louis, Missouri. The other suspect, arrested at the scene, had Officer Laurie's service revolver in his possession. He was returned to New York and charged with two counts of murder. He was acquitted in 1973. He was returned to Missouri where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for convictions in the St. Louis incident. A third suspect was captured in New Orleans in 1973. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Patrolman Waverly Jones and Patrolman Joseph A. Piagentiai of the New York City Police Department on May 21, 1971.

Officer Laurie had served with the agency for two years. He was survived by his wife. Officer Laurie and Officer Foster served in the U.S. Marine Corps together and were Vietnam combat veterans. When they joined the New York City Police Department they requested to be assigned to the same precinct.

Officer Laurie is buried at Saint Peter's Cemetery in West New Brighton, New York.

In October 2019, Otis Avenue at Hylan Avenue in Staten Island was renamed Police Officer Rocco W. Laurie Way in his honor.

The Black Liberation Army was a violent, radical group that attempted to fight for independence from the United States government in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The BLA was responsible for the murders of more than 10 police officers around the country. They were also responsible for violent attacks around the country that left many police officers wounded.


  • Age 23
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge 11019
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender One later shot and killed


Most Recent Reflection

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I was in boot camp with Rocco at Parris Island in 1968, Platoon 264. Rocco was in the bunk across from me in the "barn", an old wooden barracks where we slept and spent countless hours under the watchful eye of our crazed drill instructors. Rocco was always in great shape and very sharp mentally. Always someone I admired. We served in different units in Nam, but I ran into him one day in Dong Ha where we reflected on our time together at Parris Island and of course what we were doing in Nam. I'll never forget that day because he brought a smile to my face and wiped off the frown that I reluctantly wore every day I was in country. RIP my brother, Semper Fi.

Cpl. William Papianou
USMC Vietnam 1968

November 21, 2021

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