ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Members of the Rochester Police Department led a procession and spoke at the funeral for fallen Rochester Police Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz Monday.
The procession began at the Public Safety Building downtown shortly after 11 a.m. and ended at Blue Cross Arena. A sea of uniformed first responders lined up Broad Street to honor the officer.
“With literally hundreds saluting Officer Mazurkiewicz, you heard nothing but the noise of silence,” said News 8’s Adam Chodak who was reporting live from the scene of the procession.
Police from both in and out of state entered the Blue Cross Arena at 11:45 p.m. to find a dark room set for the ceremony. More than 100 people attended, including New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Patriot Guard Riders, and various agencies from across the country.
Family close to Officer Mazurkiewicz addressed his death at the funeral.
“My mom lost the love of her life,” said Brooks Balcer, his eldest daughter. “Her invincible husband, who she was looking forward to growing old with. My brother Brad lost his best friend and his first phone call for all things good and bad. My brother Brent lost his idol. My baby sister Bryce, a daddy’s girl, lost the best man she will ever know. My husband Shawn lost his best friend and the man he most looked up to in the entire world. I myself lost so much. Many times throughout this last week, it feels like I lost it all… but truly the worst part of it for me is that my three little girls lost their grilled cheese-making, nap partner, swing-pushing, tree-climbing, papa care provider, nickname-calling papa.”
Balcer opened the afternoon’s speeches alongside her sister, 21, and two brothers 33 and 26.
Officer Mazurkiewicz was married to his wife, Lynne for 28 years, and had three grandchildren ages 6, 4, and 2.
Officer Mazurkiewicz was fatally shot in the line of duty 11 days ago on Thursday, July 21. He died in what police described as “a shooting ambush” during an evening patrol along Bauman Street.
Mazurkiewicz first joined the department on April 12, 1993, after serving as a Jail Deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for five years. He was placed under patrol on the Clinton and Goodman Sections ahead of his transfer to the Tactical Unit in 2002.
During his nearly 30 years as an officer, Mazurkiewicz received the Rochester Police Department’s Life-Saving Award, Officer of the Month award, 17 Excellent Police Service Awards, seven Unit Commendation awards, 32 Chief’s Letters of Commendation, and the Good Conduct Award for 29 years of service without a sustained complaint.
In the days leading to his funeral, several community members and organizations around the greater Rochester area commemorated Mazurkiewicz — each with their own personal touch.
A Penfield barber gave back to local police families with free haircuts, Rochester General Hospital turned its exterior lights blue for the month of July, some offered relief to on-duty officers working overtime shifts and others voiced their plea for leaders to stand against ongoing city violence.
“Choke on your thoughts, choke on your prayers,” City Councilmember Michael Patterson said. “They have a duty and a responsibility to legislate and act. If I could, if we could — we would. We can’t.”
Patterson represents the Northeast District, where the shooting of Officer Mazurkiewicz took place.
Kelvin Vickers, a 21-year-old man from Massachusetts, was charged three days after the shooting death of Mazurkiewicz and received no bail. He is currently being held in Monroe County Jail.
Dan McGuire, a local expert in Public Safety Responder Wellness, watched the procession Monday and spoke on the magnitude of an officer’s death and the weight carried by the community.
“When one of ours goes down, nobody goes back to normal,” McGuire said. “You do not go back to normal after one of our own has been killed in the line of duty.”
The casket of Officer Mazurkiewicz will be transported to White Haven Cemetary in Pittsford after the funeral to be buried. Family members are expected to line Marsh Road to say their final goodbye.
Rochester Police Chief David Smith stepped on the podium Monday, thanked the community and outlined what law enforcement means.
“Your prayers, your support, your compassion, have truly sustained us this past week in our time of need,” Smith said on behalf of the department. “What is law enforcement? Who is to protect the innocent from the murderer, who is to protect the innocent from the rapist, or the child abuser? That is us. Doing precisely what Tony was doing when he was taken from us.”
The last Rochester police officer to be killed in the line of duty was Daryl Pierson in 2014.
Pierson was assigned to the same unit that Mazurkiewicz. He was 32-years-old at the time of his death and left behind a wife and two children.
“I cannot believe that we are here again,” said RPD Special Operations Section Captain Ray Dearcop. “Mazz was a professional, a leader, self-motivated with a mission-first mentality.”
At the time of his death, Mazurkiewicz was working alongside his partner Officer Sino Seng who was in the passenger seat at the time of the shooting. RPD Captain Dearcop called Sino Seng a hero Monday, thanking him for putting his own life at the risk for the betterment of others.
Officer Sino Seng was shot once in the lower body and is currently recovering.
In conjunction with the funeral service, the Town of Perinton implemented its own plans to ensure the officer’s legacy lives on.
On Sunday, police units from numerous different agencies lit up the streets of Perinton with blue, paying tribute to the 29-year veteran as they headed west on Pittsford-Palmyra Road.
Ribbons, lights and signs were held up by community members, who paid their respects to the hometown hero. Officer Mazurkiewicz was also honored over police dispatch radio waves by department members with an end-of-watch call and a moment of silence.
Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna says the entire community is still in a state of grief. There are plans, looking ahead, to ensure Officer Mazurkiewicz’s legacy lives on.
“We’re going to put together a committee so that we can come up with an appropriate memorial for Tony and his service to our community, and we’ll work with the family through that […] they were so involved in the community there’s going to be so many options to do. We just want to do the most appropriate one,” Hanna explained.
Mazurkiewicz’s funeral is not open to the public but full coverage will be provided on News 8.
In response to an outpouring of community support and requests for donation information, officials released the following set of recommendations:
- In-Person: Visit any Canandaigua National Bank Branch and donate to Rochester Police Locust Club FBO Anthony Mazurkiewicz
- By mail: Checks should be made out to Rochester Police Locust Club FBO Anthony Mazurkiewicz and mailed to Rochester Police Locust Club, 1425 Lexington Avenue, Rochester, NY 14606
Full Procession Ceremony
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.