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NYPD detective killed on duty, buried in unmarked mass grave given proper funeral 100 years later

Detective Sgt. Bernardino Grottano was fatally shot in 1924; his funeral allowed many descendants to meet for the first time, including two current NYPD officers

By Joanna Putman

NEW YORK — A century after he died in the line of duty, NYPD Detective Sgt. Bernardino Grottano was finally laid to rest with a high-honors funeral at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, PIX 11 reported.

The event not only provided a long-overdue burial for Grottano, but also brought together relatives and fellow officers, some of whom discovered familial connections for the first time during the ceremony, according to the report.

Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, reflected on Grottano’s act of bravery during his eulogy.

“He got involved to help another police officer,” DiGiacomo said.

This act ultimately led to Grottano’s death in 1924 after he apprehended a robbery suspect who then fatally shot him, according to the report.

For decades, Grottano lay in an unmarked mass grave until recent efforts led by William Markowski, the fiancé of Grottano’s great-niece, uncovered his final resting place using genealogical research.

The funeral turned out to be a significant family reunion as well, according to the report. Two NYPD officers, Officer Robert Desena and Officer Dylan Grottano, discovered they were related through online messages while the service was being planned. The two met for the first time during their great-great uncle’s funeral service.

“It’s just crazy,” remarked Desena, amazed by the connection made possible through their lineage.

Dylan Grottano added, “If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t know I had another family member on the job.”