A hero’s welcome!
City officials on Monday continued in commending those who played an important role during the April 12 mass shooting inside a Sunset Park subway station by presenting more than a dozen firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and fire marshals with proclamations for their heroic efforts that day.
“We’re here today to recognize some truly extraordinary heroes, some wonderful folks I get the opportunity to work with day in and day out, who walked into extraordinary circumstances that day at the shooting,” said Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh.
“Incredibly, no lives were lost” that day, said the interim commissioner, who stressed that it was in “no small part because of the people here who jumped into action.”
Just before 8:30 a.m. on April 12, when a Manhattan-bound N train pulled into the 36th Street station, alleged perpetrator Frank James put on a gas mask, pulled canisters out of his bag that filled the subway car with smoke, and fired 33 shots at straphangers.
The chaos led to mass hysteria, and dramatic footage from the scene showed smoke billowing out of the train car as coughing riders ran out and wounded commuters hobbled onto the platform, with blood stains covering the ground.
Adams echoed Kavanaugh in saying that the actions of those first responders honored Monday likely saved countless New Yorkers during the attack.
“I remember being at Gracie Mansion when the notification came over that we had a person who discharged 33 rounds in our subway system, striking several passengers in the morning,” he told the crowd. “Our first responders jumped into action, doing what they do every day … They respond and make sure that they provide the services that are needed.”
“These citations is our way of acknowledging the heroic action that not only took place when the gunman unleashed a large number of bullets in our subway system, but what takes place every day,” Adams went on. “And I join Commissioner Kavanaugh in lifting up of these men and women who respond to the call of service when needed. They don’t go in the other direction. They walk and run towards the danger, and it takes a special New Yorker to do that, and they are representative of the special New Yorkers we have in this city.”
Honorees included Firefighter Kervin Joseph, Engine Company number 228; Firefighter James Harkin, Ladder Company 114; Captain Joseph Arcuri, Engine Company 228; Firefighter Gabrielle Mondello, Ladder 114; Firefighter Joseph Ryan, Ladder Company 114; Lieutenant Michael Cuccurullo, Ladder Company 114; Lieutenant Liz Mackiewicz, Station number 32; EMT Edwin Karasik, Station 32; EMT Julian Clemente, Station 32; EMT Brian Rodriguez-Yanez, Station 13; Paramedic Michael Hood, Station 32; Paramedic Brent Scheidell, Station 32; EMT Nadeem Abdulla, Citywide Dispatcher; EMT Jillian Mauro, Maimonides Medical Center; EMT James Depaolo, Maimonides Medical Center; Fire Marshall Craig Gundersen; and Fire Marshall Joseph Chidichimo.
The mayor previously honored the transit workers who answered the call that fateful day, bestowing proclamations declaring April 15, 2022 — the day after the attack — in their honor.
James, who stands accused of injuring 23 people during the April 12 mass shooting in Sunset Park’s 36th Street subway station, was arraigned before a federal judge on May 13 on charges including one count of committing or attempting to commit an act of terrorism or other violence against a mass transportation system, and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
The native Bronxite, 62, pleaded not guilty to both charges, and faces life behind bars if convicted of the top count.