BENSONHURST – Francesca Mosomillio did a reading of Thessalonians 4:13-18—scripture that speaks of hope—at this year’s NYPD Brooklyn South Annual Memorial Mass at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in Bensonhurst.
She lost her father, Police Officer Joseph Mosomillio of the 67th Precinct, on May 26, 1998, after he was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a parolee who had missed his court appearance in Brooklyn. This wasn’t a time to mourn, but a moment to celebrate as the 22-year-old daughter of the fallen officer prepares to enter the NYPD Police Academy.
Sitting near her was Taylor Cannon, also getting ready to enter the Police Academy. Next to her was her mom, Jill Hermann-Cannon, who is currently a sergeant in the NYS Court Officers. Taylor’s uncle, Police Officer Jeffrey Hermann of the 71st Precinct, was killed on May 30, 1989 during a violent dispute. It was also a time to celebrate the Hermann family’s proud history, one that will continue.
Patrol Borough Brooklyn South was celebrating a mass for 116 Brooklyn South Police officers who have died in the line of duty in more than 100 years of history. The memorial mass is part of a tradition in the Brooklyn South community, which vows, as their Commander Assistant Chief Brian Conroy says, to “never forget.” Several hundred police officers, families of fallen officers and children from the local parish joined in prayers and tributes to officers “who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The mass was led by long time NYPD Chaplain David Cassato and assisted by chaplain Monsignor Robert Romano.
“My family was happy, I feel like I’m doing my part to keep legacy alive. My mom is really happy,” said Mosomillio as she exited the church after the ceremony. “I will be part of the July class of NYPD.”
Mosomillio was only two years old when her dad was shot to death.
“It’s good to remember and my family really likes being part of this—we have to keep their memories alive,” Mosomillio said.
The family of Jeffery Hermann was equally elated with Taylor Cannon, 22, of Bensonhurst, who is currently in the Police Academy training to be a cop.
“It is an honor to be here and become a police officer,” said Cannon, who was born on the same day as her uncle, seven years after his death. “There are so many deaths in the police department that we don’t know and the stories of families from so long ago. Me and Francesca are carrying that on—telling the stories of officers so long ago and helping keep those legacies alive.”
Her grandmother, Bebe Hermann, has taken part in many memorials over the years, and she says she will always be part of memorials to officers as “we should never forget.” But today was even more special as her granddaughter prepares to become a cop.
“I’ll never forget him [her son], and he is always in our hearts and they [the NYPD], will never forget, they are so close, one big happy family,” Hermann said after the ceremony. “It is wonderful that they keep their memories alive and certainly as a parent, I don’t forget.”
But despite it all, Hermann has nothing but pride for her daughter and granddaughter. “I’m so proud of both of them,” she said.
Among those carrying on the legacy was Police Officer Katrina Narvaez who read a passage from Wisdom 3:1-9—a passage speaking of faith and love. She is currently a K-9 officer, carrying on for her father, Lt. Frederico Narvaez, who was shot to death by a stalker as he exited his patrol car October 18, 1996 while working in the 70th Precinct.
Msgr. Cassato recalled his days growing up in Canarsie and he visited the old 69th Precinct on Glenwood Road and he saw the bunting and flowers for a cop killed in the line of duty.
“My dad told me ‘some cops never come home,’ and I remember that day so clearly,” Cassato said. “I remember the flowers and bunting in front of the precinct. So today we are in church, for many of you the loss is recent, for others it was many years. Today we come together to remember, and that to me is the most beautiful sign of what it is to be a police officer in the city of New York. Never, never forget.”
Assistant Chief Conroy also applauded the young women becoming police officers and carrying on their families’ legacies.
Also present at this year’s memorial service was Tatyana Timoshenko who lost her son, rookie cop police officer Russel Timoshenko of the 71st Precinct, when a man shot him during a car stop in 2007. And joining the service were the parents of Wenjian Liu, who, with his partner Rafael Ramos, were slain in their patrol car without warning on December 20, 2014 in Bed-Stuy.