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James Murdocco

Luca Restaurant ribbon cutting. Photo from WMHO

It’s official! Luca Restaurant, 93 Main St. in Stony Brook Village is set to open on Tuesday Aug. 30. In anticipation, a soft opening and ribbon cutting was held on Aug. 18.  

“We are excited to bring Luca and modern Italian cuisine to Stony Brook Village Center with exceptional food and service, great vibe and beautiful ambiance. We look forward to serving the community for many years” said David Tunney, partner, Luca Restaurant.

“Luca will be a great addition to the Center. Their modern Italian cuisine is superb and brings an exciting new style to the area” added Gloria D. Rocchio, President, Stony Brook Village Center.

Old Fields Hospitality Co. partners David Tunney (Ward Melville graduate and partner of Besito Mexican) Rory Van Nostrand, Anthony Argiriou, and Chef Luke DeSanctis are a great team with decades of fine dining and hospitality experience.

Dinner will be served Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 4 to 9 p.m. Lunch hours will be available this Fall. To make a reservation, visit their website at www.lucaitalian.com or call 631-675-0435.

Pictured from left, Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) Trustees, Andy Skitmore, Charles Napoli, Mary Van Tuyl, Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, WMHO Chairman, Dr. Richard Rugen, Luca partners Rory Van Nostrand, David Tunney, Anthony Argiriou, and Executive Chef & Partner, Luke DeSanctis, WMHO President, Gloria D. Rocchio, Head of the Harbor Mayor Doug Dahlgard, WMHO Trustees, James Murdocco, Laura Ernst and Graham Scaife.

Officer James Murdocco. Photo Julianne Mosher

The code officers were preparing to head home for the night.

After patrolling Port Jefferson village’s busy streets, the group was finishing their night shift — to end at 2 a.m. Saturday, June 19.

But four minutes before they were to get into their cars and drive home, shots were fired.

“We heard shots — you know, pop, pop, pop, And we were, like, that’s not fireworks … you could tell,” said code officer Wayne Bohm.

Code officer and detective James Murdocco, who has been with the village since 2013, headed to where the noises had come from. He was alone in his vehicle.

“I was flagged down,” he said. “I noticed the group — a gentleman came over yelling and screaming that somebody was shot.”

Murdocco parked and secured his car, quickly approaching the young victim. His partner, Brent Broere, tended to the second victim. 

Murdocco said that upon arriving, he saw a male on the floor, shot twice — severely in his leg. 

“The right leg was in pretty bad shape. He didn’t look good, and he lost a very good amount of blood,” he said. 

He noticed that someone attempted to put a tourniquet on his leg, but it wasn’t working. 

“I took it apart, redid it and made sure it was tight above the bullet wound,” he said. “At that point, I assessed him again. He was a little bit of in and out of consciousness — I believe because of either shock and the loss of blood.”

He, along with village chief of code, Fred Leute, decided then and there that time was of the essence and the man needed to get to the hospital right away. 

“It decided to put him in a patrol car and take him to Stony Brook Hospital,” Murdocco said. 

With Suffolk County police assisting by closing intersections, he said he drove as fast as he could along Route 25A, getting the bleeding victim in his back seat to safety. 

“It felt like forever,” he said. “It was almost like an eternity in that car … it was a really tough car ride.”

Murdocco added that if it wasn’t for the training he has received on the force, along with Leute’s advising, he might have not been able to help save the victim’s life. 

“The doctors pretty much said that if we hadn’t driven them, the likelihood is he wouldn’t have made it,” Leute said.

On the other side of the lot, Bohm began tending to the second victim, a young man shot in the abdomen with internal injuries. 

Officer Wayne Bohm. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“He was bleeding internally,” he said. “So, he was in kind of grave shape, but he was alert.”

While waiting for the ambulance, Bohm sat with the victim and helped him into the vehicle. 

“Time is of the essence, especially internal injuries,” he said. “He needs surgery, that’s the only way you’re going to be able to control the bleeding.”

Relatively new to the constable team, Bohm has 20 years of law enforcement experience with the New York City Police Department. A 20-plus volunteer with the local fire department and EMS, he also worked at the emergency rooms of bothMather and St. Charles hospitals for a decade.

“I like to help people,” he said. “That’s why the joined the fire department, police department, worked in the emergency rooms. I’ve always helped people. That’s my goal in life.”

Officer Broere helped tend to his victim and, once he was stable, he noticed the fleeing car leaving the parking lot. 

“I called in the description of the vehicle and the direction of where it was fleeing to,” he said. 

“I heard Suffolk County PD officers start pulling cars over off the radio from that description.”

Broere, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who joined after the September 11 attacks, said anything can crop up while on the job.

“You take your shift off knowing that anything can obviously, possibly happen,” he said. But I mean, it’s a surreal experience.”

But he, along with his team who tended to the two victims, said thinking about the horror isn’t an option when a job has to be done.

“You go through the motions, what you’ve been taught, and your muscle memory,” he said. “And you don’t really think about it until after it’s over.”

Leute added that both victims are now stable, while the alleged shooter, 20-year-old Port Jefferson Station resident Ethan Ladd, was charged with two counts of assault in the first degree, a felony. He was arraigned at the First District Court in Central Islip on Monday, June 21, and released on $25,000 bail.

For a shift that was supposed to end early Saturday morning, the officers didn’t get home until a little past 6 a.m. 

“They are true heroes,” said trustee Kathianne Snaden. “Not a lot of people would run toward gunfire, and they did. They put their lives in danger every single day and are always there to help.”

Murdocco noted that he and his code officers do more than what makes the news. Over the course of his tenure, he has assisted in seven Narcan saves when overdoses happen in the village.

Always working closely alongside the SCPD, when a call comes in through 911 — and code officers knowing it’s in village boundaries — they rush to the scene to assist. 

Murdocco said just over three weeks ago another overdose happened on Main Street. He administered the Narcan, and luckily the young woman survived.

“And we’re within under a minute to get there,” he said. “It’s not like we’re waiting, looking with binoculars for somebody to park illegally and write them a ticket. We’re really responding to what we’re trained for.”

Port Jefferson Village constables Brent Broere and James Murdocco. Photo by Alex Petroski

Port Jefferson code officers James Murdocco and Brent Broere are quick thinkers and a dynamic team, and thanks to their efforts, a young man who suffered a drug overdose is alive today.

Despite being delayed by a passing train in late December, when the constables arrived at the scene of a parked car on Belle Terre Road, they sprung into action. Broere had prepared a Narcan dose, the drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid-related overdose, on the way. When the pair arrived at the parking lot of Fairfield at Port Jefferson apartment complex, Murdocco took the syringe and raced to the car.

“This young man regained his life directly in front of everyone.”

— Eyewitness

“He’s pretty much done,” Murdocco recalled thinking that Dec. 22 night when he saw the victim behind the already opened driver’s seat door, whose head was leaning back against the headrest. He said the female passenger was “worked up,” and even tried hitting the victim’s chest in an effort to spark a sign of life. Murdocco climbed in the car, straddling the unresponsive victim next to the girl who was letting out harrowing screams at the comatose man, hoping for a response.

“He was actually purple,” a witness said of the victim. “The situation heightened when no pulse was noted for some time. This incident brought fear to my family — especially during the holiday season. My young ones were in shock.”

Murdocco administered the first dose of Narcan in the victim’s nostril, but it had little effect. Broere loaded up a second, stronger dose and his partner tried the other nostril, completely emptying the syringe in one shot. The victim responded so well he was able to exit the car and put on his own jacket.

“This young man regained his life directly in front of everyone,” the witness wrote in a letter to Port Jefferson Village, discussing the buzz it stirred and pleading for proclamations to recognize the officers’ heroic efforts. “This truly was a holiday blessing. Although a tragedy, these officers saved a tragedy from becoming a parent’s worse nightmare.”

The constables were honored by Port Jefferson Village during a Jan. 3 board meeting for their actions that night. Code officers Michael Hanley and John Vinicombe, who arrived on the scene after Murdocco and Broere, were also recognized.

According to Murdocco, the officers are able to hear 911 calls made in the Port Jeff area, and are encouraged to respond to calls requiring immediate aid, oftentimes faster than Suffolk County police officers. He and his partner were in their patrol car when they heard the call, and planned to make their way to the scene, briefly waiting on the south side of the Long Island Rail Road tracks on Main Street as a train went through. While they waited, they encountered a  county police officer who was also headed to the scene, but who did not have the equipment or training to administer Narcan. Village constables are not required to undergo Narcan training, but they are encouraged to do so, and luckily, Murdocco and Broere voluntarily took the course on their own time.

“The chief and the deputy chief and the mayor did a really good job by pairing me and Jimmy up together.”

— Brent Broere

“These two officers were absolutely incredible,” the eyewitness said. “The officer that jumped into the car acted so fast that he had no protective gloves, and was exposed with the young man’s blood. Several neighbors asked to assist, yet he declined, and was able to clean out all of the areas exposed.”

According to accounts from both officers and an eyewitness, the scene was emotional and tense. Murdocco, who works in a state detention center in addition to his duties in Port Jeff, used the word “gruesome” to describe what he saw.

Broere, a Northport High School graduate and Marine Corps veteran in a scout sniper platoon, had been deployed on multiple combat tours and was awarded a Purple Heart after being shot through both of his legs. He returned to Long Island about six months ago after spending eight years in North Carolina working in various law enforcement capacities.

“The chief and the deputy chief and the mayor did a really good job by pairing me and Jimmy up together,” Broere said. “We’re a good match. As partners, we kind of know what the other one is thinking before he has to say it. In a situation like that seconds count.”

Port Jefferson Trustee Larry LaPointe stands with code officers, from left, James Murdocco, John Vinicombe, Paul Barbato and Gina Savoie as they pose with their proclamations. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Port Jefferson Village honored five code enforcement officers on Monday night who officials say went above the call of duty to serve the community.

Two helped save an overdosing man’s life, one attempted to revive a car crash victim, another thwarted a burglary and a lieutenant protected the village during the recent heavy snowstorm. The board of trustees presented them with proclamations for their service to cheers from the audience at Village Hall.

Gina Savoie was commended for preventing a break-in at a home in the Harbor Hills area earlier this month after she saw suspicious activity and called for police assistance. According to code bureau Chief Wally Tomaszewski, two Coram residents were arrested for loitering as a result.

Paul Barbato, who received a proclamation last year for reviving a man in cardiac arrest at a Port Jefferson restaurant, was honored again Monday for attempting to save a Belle Terre man trapped inside a Lamborghini that had crashed into a pole on East Broadway. Barbato, the first on the scene of the mid-December crash near High Street, got inside the car and performed CPR.

Lt. John Borrero is honored. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Lt. John Borrero is honored. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Although his attempt ultimately proved unsuccessful, he “tried desperately to save his life,” Tomaszewski said in a previous interview. “Believe me, his boots were filled with blood.”

A couple of weeks later, James Murdocco and John Vinicombe responded to an opioid overdose at the Islandwide Taxi stand near the Port Jefferson Long Island Rail Road station. Mayor Margot Garant said Monday that the officers were told the young victim was dead, and they found no pulse or respiration. Murdocco and Vinicombe each administered the anti-overdose medication Narcan and Murdocco performed CPR.

The man regained consciousness and “became violent,” she said, and had to be restrained.

Garant added an unplanned honor to Monday night’s affair, commending Lt. John Borrero for his work during the blizzard, commonly dubbed Winter Storm Jonas, that hit Long Island hard on Jan. 23.

“I cannot tell you what this one gentleman did, on tour all day, making sure our streets are safe, shutting down roads, calling other code enforcement officers in during a massive blizzard — he’s out there helping employees get to work at St. Charles Hospital,” the mayor said. “Your service to this community is just invaluable, John. I cannot tell you the amount of respect you earned that night.”

She told the audience that there is more to the code enforcement bureau than meets the eye.

“These officers are not merely giving out tickets,” Garant said, “but they’re saving lives.”

Port Jefferson code Chief Wally Tomaszewski. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Code enforcement officers in Port Jefferson will get a raise for the first time in several years if they approve their first union contract next week.

At the Jan. 4 village board of trustees meeting, the board approved the new agreement, settled upon a couple of years after negotiations began. The Port Jefferson Constable Association union must still ratify the contract to finalize it.

The new agreement would be retroactive to June 2014 and run through the end of May 2018, Trustee Bruce D’Abramo said in a phone interview. With part of the contract being retroactive, so is part of the proposed pay increase — the union members would receive an extra $1.50 for each hour they worked between June 2014 and the end of May 2015; and another $1.75 per hour worked from June 2015 and onward.

Moving forward, the officers from the Code Enforcement Bureau would receive an hourly bump of $0.25 each new year of the contract, meaning they would get a raise in June 2016 and June 2017.

The few dozen staff members covered under the proposal includes code enforcement officers and sergeants as well as appearance ticket officers, D’Abramo said. The union does not include code Chief Wally Tomaszewski or three lieutenants in the bureau.

According to both village officials and the union, it has been a while since the officers received a raise.

Port Jefferson Constable Association President Tom Grimaldi has been a code officer for more than seven years, he said, and the last salary increase was “way before I got there. Probably at least 10 years ago.”

D’Abramo noted that before the proposed raises kick in, the pay for code enforcement officers is $16 per hour. For sergeants, the pay is $18.25 per hour, and appearance ticket officers currently get $13.50 per hour.

The contract is “a long time coming,” Grimaldi said.

And D’Abramo said village officials are happy to put the negotiations behind them so they can finally “give the code officers, who do such a good job for the village, the kind of remuneration” that is comparable to such officers in other villages.

The constables have been particularly visible recently with some high-profile incidents in Port Jefferson Village.

In mid-December, a Belle Terre man was killed when he lost control of his Lamborghini while driving up a steep East Broadway hill and crashed into a pole near High Street. Officer Paul Barbato was the first on the scene, finding a “horribly mangled vehicle with a person still alive inside,” Trustee Larry LaPointe reported at a board meeting shortly after the crash. Barbato got inside the car and attempted CPR on 48-year-old Glen Nelson, but the driver later died.

“You can only imagine the scene he came upon,” Mayor Margot Garant said on Jan. 4.

In a phone interview, Tomaszewski said Barbato “tried desperately to save his life. Believe me, his boots were filled with blood.”

Code enforcement officer James Murdocco. File photo by Elana Glowatz
Code enforcement officer James Murdocco. File photo by Elana Glowatz

A couple of weeks later, on New Year’s Day, patrolling code officers James Murdocco and John Vinicombe responded to an overdose at the Islandwide Taxi stand near the Port Jefferson Long Island Rail Road station.

LaPointe said at the board meeting on Jan. 4 that Murdocco administered the anti-overdose medication Narcan and “saved the person’s life by doing so.”

Tomaszewski described another recent incident in which officer Gina Savoie “thwarted a burglary” on Crystal Brook Hollow Road. He said after Savoie took action and called for police assistance, the two suspects, who are from Coram, were arrested for loitering.

“My hat goes off to the code enforcement bureau,” Garant said at the most recent board meeting. “They’re out there handling things that are unimaginable for us to even contemplate.”