Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Patrolman John E. Varecha

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Monday, October 7, 1968

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Reflections for Patrolman John E. Varecha

Rest In Peace.

Fidelis ad Mortem.

Lieutenant Gregory W. Chupa
NYPD (Retired)

June 1, 2024

I met John once and was in awe of my friend Arlene’s big brother. Arlene and I were in Girl Scouts together and our moms were leaders together and good friends. I remember my mom crying and she told me what happened. I reached out to Arlene a couple of times but she was broken, her family was broken. This is my first childhood memory of a loss of life that didn’t involve someone really old passing away.

Nicole Price

March 28, 2024

So Sad for the family.
Can’t believe those career criminals got paroled.
And worse yet given time to talk on documentaries.

Chad
None

February 9, 2022

Rest In Peace hero ! I have read all the reflections and it shows how many peoples lives you touched . Your memory lives on and obviously you will and should never be forgotten .
I’m sorry once again the nys judical system has failed your family ans let your killers go free . It’s the new norm !
I pray your parents found comfort in the bigger family of the NYPD .
Rest In Peace

Brendan O’Hara
Nypd mounted ( retired )

October 7, 2021

Thank you for your service and know that your sacrifice will never be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

October 7, 2020

Rest In Peace Brother in Blue. You are honored and remembered on the 50th anniversary of your EOW.

Officer Mike Robinson (Ret.)
Upland Police Dept. CA

October 7, 2018

Patrolman Varecha,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of New York City. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

R.I.P.
USBP

Anonymous
United States Border Patrol

October 7, 2018

Rest in peace hero.

Lt. Jim Russo

October 6, 2017

I went through the academy with John and was sent to the 18th Precinct along with him. I worked the post on Fifth Avenue on a 4 x 12 tour and was relieved by John the night he was killed. I was probably the last officer to speak to John before the gunfight that took his life. I still have the original Daily News paper with his picture on the front page. I left the NYPD for Suffolk PD on February 1, 1969, but I and the other officers who left the 18th for Suffolk still talk about the night that changed our lives forever. I use the newspaper story of John to enforce the importance of being a proficient shot with the duty weapon in the Sarasota County Florida Police Academy, where I teach rookie officers.
— PO Warren McCue Shield 26315

I was a patrolman in the 18Pct. when John Varecha was murdered.I previously walked the same post he did and Would bring him or other Police Officers who walked the cement canyons of NYC coffee and a few minutes in a warm patrol car when ever I could. John was a good cop who was a hard worker and aggressive, in the best sense of that word, when he was doing his job.He was a good man and a good police officer. I was shot at 8 times and stabbed once in my years on the job. There but the grace of God go I. May he rest in repose with the Saints and the martyrs. Respectfully submitted.
— Frederick Ledogar

Rest in peace from the members of Midtown Precinct North. You are not forgotten. 10/24/2005
— Sgt. J. Hynes

John Varecha was one of my closest friends in the NYPD. The other two were PO Leo Garrick, known to everyone in Midtown North as Mickey,and PO Gerald Velotta, (who was shot accidentally and killed by a fellow officer in the basement of the 18th in January, 1971.)
I was in the same class at The Academy with John, with Lt. Marvin "the Slash" Licker as our instructor, a true character who used to throw us out of the class whenever we got it wrong. (He threw Irwin Raymer out a lot.) "Just stand in the hall with the back of your head in the window you moron, because you'll never learn anything." Madman Licker, to whom we all owe a great debt, never threw John out. When we graduated on December 13, 1967, at the 26th street Armory, I first went to the old 16th precinct , on West 47th St., built before the Civil War. I joined John and other guys from my class in early 1968 when the 16th and closed and we moved up to 18th fighting for space. By chance, and I have always believed fate, my locker was next to John's, and we wound up in the same squad, the 15th, under Sergeant Hansen, one fine man, and a good cop. John and I worked together every tour from the very beginning to the very end, including the night he died. John, Jerry and I hung out and triple dated a lot, (the Italian thing, capisca?)?.and our last fun night out together was three nights before John's murder, 4 October, my birthday. We went to Thursday's on West 58th. Like I said, friends, but truth be told, We loved John, but he was focused on super cop., John was aggressive in his collar pursuits. He wanted to keep pace with another guy we were friends with, and hung out with, (he was at Thursday?s for my birthday too,) in our class, Grant Webster, who was collaring everybody up in the 41st precinct, made famous as Fort Apache. John relieved Warren McClure, another member of our class, on the fixed post, (known to cops a fixer), in front of Air Canada at 54th and 5th. So set the record straight about John's time on the job, and what the post really was.

One reason I and tragic recollection of that part of the story; that was supposed to be my post that night. I wish, like Warren, I had saved a copy of the Roll Call from that night; the one on which Sgt. Hansen made the change that sent me to Special 2 on 42nd Street in Midtown Southand John to the air Canada fixr. What is particularly painful, and never leaves me is the fact that John who so loved the action asked me to switch with him because he didnt want to take the chance that he would catch a collar that night, which, on Special 2 on late tours was an imminent certainty. He has something important to do the next day, (I cannot remember what.) So we asked Hansen and he said, as he always did, no problem. At about 1:15 AM, we all heard the call on our portables, and a few minutes later the MTS sector picked me up and took me to the hospital. John was already gone, and Sergeant Hansen wanted to know if I would go with the department Chaplin to John's home because I knew his family. I said I would, but I also told them the truth that I didn?t know his family very well. The Borough commander decided I would be of better use if I stayed with John. I stayed with John, and John has stayed with me my entire life. I wore one of John?s shirts, his helmet and gunbelt, cuffs and memo book the rest of my time on the job. I also wore it all at the dedication of the NYPD harbor boat the John Varecha, where I sat with his family. Truth be told, I would not have commandeered a cab to chase two low lives for blowing a light. Unfortunately fate does not take such things into account. But I, like all of John?' friends, would go to the ends of the Earth for him and into any battle with John because he would do the same; always. John Boy, you were a loved, respected, decent guy; and as good a cop as there ever was. One last thing... A hard rain fell that night.
PO RAYMOND SITRA
SHIELD #26500 John

PO RAYMOND SITRA
NYPD MIDTOWN NORTH

October 12, 2016

An only child how sad! Rest in peace Patrolman Varecha. Your valor won't be forgotten.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

April 2, 2016

Thank you for your dedicated service to the citizens of NYC and your fellow officers. Rest in peace Sir! It disturbs me terribly to read of so many cop killers getting parole. It is a travesty that those who maliciously take the lives of police officers get to live a free life again while their victims are gone forever!

J. Gantner
Grandson, Son, Brother of NJ P.O.'s and NJSP

February 16, 2016

I said a little prayer today for Patrolman Varecha and his family. He may be gone but never forgotten. He will always be a New York HERO!

Robyn Wilkes

October 5, 2015

Although having left New York 40 years ago and being now 68 years old... I remember and can see Johnny as he was as though it was last week! A High School cool guy with a confident and winning personality, Johnny was someone to be admired. I so admired his red bull-nosed 56 Chevy, and punching each other in the arm was great fun! He deserved more out of life than what he was dealt. Once more the Legal system failed and betrayed all of us! The two murderers should have been put to death instead of being paroled!

Roger Bennett
High School friend

May 13, 2014

I remember John very well, we went through the Police Academy together, he was in Company 10, while I was in Company 8. Upon graduation we were both assigned to the 18th Pct. on W 54th Street. John worked opposite me on the duty chart, he was in the 15th sqd, while I was in the 8th sqd. I'll never forget that night. John and I passed each other during the shift change. I had just left 666 5th Ave, which was a fixer, and headed back to the Pct. My carpool had headed over the 59th street bridge when the News came over the radio that an officer had been shot in front of Auther's on E 54 st. We of course we didn't know it was John, but of course turn back to give blood. John was a very good, dedicated, police officer. I'm now in my 70's and still remember it as though it was yesterday. Peace & grace to all those who have served.

P.O. Michael P Hurley
Friend of Johns

May 10, 2014

John Varecha was one of my closest friends in the NYPD. John and I were in the same class at The Academy. March 1, 1967. My Shield number; 26500. John’s; 26540. Our instructor was Lt. Marvin ‘the slash’ Licker, a true character who used to throw us out of the class whenever we got it wrong. (He threw Irwin Raymer out a lot.) “Just stand in the hall with the back of your head in the window you moron, because you’ll never learn anything.” Madman Licker, to whom we all owe a great debt, never threw John out. John was one of his best. When we graduated in December, 1967, at the 26th street Armory, I first went to the old 16th precinct , on West 47th St., built before the Civil War. I joined John and other guys from my class in April, 1968 when the 16th and 18th merged to become the city’s first operational command precinct, Midtown North, and we moved in, fighting for space. By chance, and I have always believed, fate as well, my locker was next to John’s. I was assigned to the same squad, the 15th, under Sergeant Hansen, one fine man, and one good cop. John and I worked together every tour from the very beginning to the very end, including the night he died. And we played together: Our last fun time out was three nights earlier, 4 October, my 24th birthday.

That fateful night John was lost has never left me…and will never leave me. John loved being super cop. Heroic. He was made for it, built for it. The fateful events that allowed me to live a full life, and cut John’s off so tragically short began as we were ‘getting in the bag’ that night…getting ready for the street. John, who as I said loved to be ‘in it’ all the time, was assigned to Special 2. Special 2 was West 42nd Street, but not the Disney, ultra safe and happy walkway it is today. Back then ‘The Deuce’ as we all knew it was a nasty, foul, dangerous strip populated by cops, night crawlers and career felons. Although it was in Midtown South, our sister precinct, we shared the duties because there was enough nightly crime and violence on that street for everyone. In essence, it was John’s favorite element.

But as I said, fate reached out and changed destiny. John had something important to do the next day and did not want Special 2 because he knew he would ‘make a collar’ and end up in court in the morning…it was unavoidable for him. I on the other hand, was assigned to a very quiet, and hopefully uneventful ‘bomb fixer’ in front of the Air Canada office at 54th Street and 5th Avenue. John made a simple request, as was often done…he asked me to switch posts with him.

At Roll Call we asked Sgt. Hansen to approve it, and he did, and we turned out. John went east to the quietness of 5th Avenue at night, and I went south to the sewer. Within 10 minutes of arriving at my post the deluge began; a fierce, driving rain. The denizens of The Deuce disappeared into their holes, (street criminals do not like bad weather,) and I thought of John tucked into the dry doorway of Air Canada while I was slogging along the deserted boulevard of broken dreams, soaked to the bone. “”You one me one” I thought, and then the radio call came. And then we, cops from every command in the area, were at Bellevue lined up to give John all our blood if necessary…but it was not. John was lost when they brought him in.

Do I know what would have happened had we not switched posts that night? No, I do not. But I do know why John commandeered a taxi and pursued those two thugs who eventually took his life. Their actions were destined to hurt someone, and John, because he was a cop’s cop, a man’s man, was not going to let that happen no matter the price. And a cop’s cop, a man’s man, a man of honor and courage paid the ultimate price to keep the people of his city safe. That never leaves me, as he never does.

P.O. (ret.) Raymond Sitra
Shield #26500
Midtown North
EMAIL: [email protected]

POLICE OFFICER RAYMOND SITRA
16TH PCT., 18TH PCT., MIDTOWN NORTH

January 3, 2014

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 45th anniversary year of your death. I am privileged to leave a tribute to you. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service.

My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Lasater Loya
mom of fallen officer Larry Lasater

November 3, 2013

I knew John as a child. He was my brother's best friend through high school. he was proud to be a Police Officer although I remember the 60's as a time it was not "popular" to be a Police officer by some who did not understand the committment that officers made. It has been so many years and my brother still cannot make sense out of the loss nor can the rest of our family. I look for John's name whenever I visit the police memorial. It makes me cry but beyond that, it makes me proud to have known John. He had such a sense of humor and as a little girl he kept me laughing all the time. God bless you John. I know you are in heaven. Christine Carbella Hunter

christine Carbella Hunter
An old friend

January 18, 2012

today on the anniversary of your death you are remember and thank you Sir (young man) for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe
Neighbors for a Better Manhester, NH

October 7, 2007

I was working Patrol in the 18th pct and remember John well. The incident was well remembered on that rainy night and his memory will never be forgotten especially by the 18 pct guys. John was a great cop...RIP BROTHER.

Det John Meyer (Ret)
NYPD

January 10, 2006

Patrolman Varecha,
On today, the 37th anniversary of your murder, I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of New York. 32 years for a cop's like doesn't seem to me like an equal sentence.

R.I.P.
Anonymous

October 7, 2005

I was the second car on the scene of Ptl. Varecha's murder, which occurred in the 17th Precinct. I was assigned to the 18th Squad and John was "our" cop. One of his two killers had only been arrested a few months before by one of my partners for shooting someone over a West Side traffic accident. Both shooters were cheap thugs and organized crime "wanna-bes" who killed the officer in a cowardly manner.

Det. Joseph J. Gannon (Retired)
NYCPD

February 9, 2005

On the anniversary of your death, I salute you for your service and honor you for your sacrifice.

A hero never dies.....

God bless, hero. Rest in peace.

A grateful citizen.

October 7, 2004

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