NYPD, FDNY go head-to-head in 2nd annual volleyball game

Game at Maspeth High raises funds, honors fallen heroes

By Jessica Meditz


Both the NYPD and FDNY teams showed good sportsmanship throughout.

Cheers filled the gym at Maspeth High School this past Saturday as members of the community turned out to show their support for first responders.

After last year’s smashing success, the NYPD and FDNY men’s volleyball teams held their annual volleyball game for a second year.

The game is to bring awareness and honor the lives of NYPD and FDNY personnel killed in the line of duty, including Police Officer Adeed Fayaz, Detectives Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, Firefighters Jesse Gerhard, Timothy Klein, William Moon and EMS Lieutenant Alison Russo-Elling.

It was also a community effort to raise funds for NYPD and FDNY families. Proceeds from the $10 admission ticket and raffle sales went to the Police Benevolent Association and FDNY Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund.

The raffle prizes were all donated by local businesses, including Patrizia’s, Villa Erasmo, Connolly’s Corner, Enchanted Florist & Greenhouse, Oasis Cafe, Cara Mia, Shop & Go Wine & Spirits and Eliot Pizzeria.

Malcolm Brissett-Ortiz, officer at the 77th Precinct and captain of the NYPD volleyball team, organized the event.

“I’m thankful for everyone’s love and support. It’s important we give back to our fallen officers,” Brissett-Ortiz said. “This game is exciting because it’s a lot of fun, and it’s great for morale.”

The afternoon began with a ceremony at 4:30 p.m., featuring the presentation of NYPD and FDNY colors, the National Anthem and a moment of silence for the fallen heroes.

Jerry Matacotta, volleyball coach at Maspeth High School and of the FDNY team, said that the event is intended to be based in community and unity.

“It’s important to get together after a terrible event, recognize the NYPD and FDNY’s work and the heroes that have died this year,” he said. “We wanted to get morale up and help the families.”

The firefighters and police officers on their respective teams are from throughout the city, who have gone on to compete across the country and in the World Police & Fire Games.

Matacotta said they’ll go up to Winnipeg, Canada for this year’s World Police & Fire Games, as well as Battle of the Badges in Massachusetts.

Saturday’s match was played on a best-out-of-five basis, which kept spectators on the edge of their seats.

For the second year in a row, the NYPD reigned victorious – comfortably beating the FDNY 3-1.

They took home a trophy and earned bragging rights once again.

No matter who won or lost, both teams felt a sense of gratitude to see members of the local community so supportive of their work.

“This community supports EMS and the Police and Fire Departments 100 percent. There’s no maybes in this community,” Matacotta said.

“The tradition of the Police and Fire Departments is over 150 years old. It’s not going to end this year, in 50 years, 100 years or 2,000 years from now,” he continued. “People who have served and died for us will always be remembered.”

17-year-old shot near Maspeth High School, 15-year-old charged


Maspeth High School

A 17-year-old was shot near Maspeth High School, causing the school to go on “hard lockdown” mode.


A 17-year-old Maspeth High School student is expected to recover after being shot in the arm on Wednesday afternoon, less than a block away from the school’s entrance.

At about 1:38 p.m. — 40 minutes before the school’s 2:18 p.m. dismissal bell — a shot was fired from a moped traveling along the intersection of 74th Street and Grand Avenue. 

The 17-year-old victim was seen running back into the school for help, as the two riders on the moped sped off, according to witnesses at the scene.

Less than two hours later, police said they caught up with two 15-year-old individuals, who were later released after a police investigation revealed they were not involved.

Police then brought formal charges of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon against another 15-year-old, at 8:40 p.m. on Wednesday night.

The 17-year-old victim was transported to nearby Elmhurst Hospital, where he is in stable condition as of Wednesday night, with the bullet hitting his left arm. Police also believe that the victim was not the intended target of the shooting.

Law enforcement sources and students told The Queens Ledger that the victim is also the son of an NYPD officer. 

Maspeth High proceeded to enter a “hard lockdown” before the protocol was lifted and students were then let out in waves around 3:30 p.m., with many being picked up in the adjacent Stop & Shop plaza.

Isaiah Perez, a senior at Maspeth High School, said he was in the second floor library for over 90 minutes, looking out the window watching emergency personnel flock to the school.

“I saw my friend being pulled on the stretcher, with his arm patched up and being pulled into an ambulance,” Perez said. “This is the first time I’ve ever experienced something like this.”

Footage from the nearby Shell gas station’s security camera shows the moped turning the corner at 74th Street and Grand Avenue, with the blue-hooded driver extending his left arm to fire one shot, with a red-hooded accomplice sitting behind him.

No motive has been announced into what led to the shooting.

Council member Robert Holden, whose district encompasses Maspeth, was promptly on the scene and later condemned the shooting on social media.

“My heart goes out to the victim of today’s shooting at Maspeth HS, a 17-yr-old student,” Holden tweeted. “NYPD are aware of the perpetrators. I have been concerned about issues related to the school for some time and will be in touch with police and the Chancellor.”

Rep. Grace Meng also issued a statement condemning the shooting outside the high school, saying “Hoping the student makes a full recovery. Must continue doing all we can to keep our kids safe.”

Assemblymember Brian Barnwell, who just recently announced he will not seek re-election, said his office is closely following the situation and denounced the issue of illegal firearms on the streets.

“This is just another example showcasing the out of control possession of illegal firearms,” he wrote in a statement. “Until this issue is taken seriously, with actual consequences for illegal possession of such, these horrible incidents will continue.”

Business owners in the immediate area told The Queens Ledger that there has been a recent uptick in fights that stem from the nearby school.

An employee from TNT Liquidators, just around the corner at 73-60 Grand Avenue, said he usually keeps an eye on the front of the store when school is let out just after 2:00 p.m. 

“They fight all the time,” Alexander, a three-year employee at TNT Liquidators said. “This whole week there’s been fights. They fight in front of the coffee shop and in Elmhurst Park, for a long time.”

Residents of the neighborhood said they were shocked to see this happen in their part of Queens, including Lupe, who has been living nearby on 52nd Avenue in Maspeth for the past three years.

She was walking back from the nearby Queens Center Mall when she saw police setting up crime scene tape not far from her residence. She described her neighborhood as “beautiful, nice and quiet”, but added that local crime has been more pervasive as of the last year.

“This is bad news for residents,” Lupe said, also offering her condolences to the 17-year-old victim.. “We don’t feel safe anymore. I have to get out of here.”

A 17-year-old was shot near Maspeth High School, causing the school to go on “hard lockdown” mode.

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