Sergeant Tom Tarantino – Badge #7
On April 21, 1973, Officer Tarantino was dispatched to assist a motorist on Highway 4 in Martinez. Officer Tarantino spoke with the driver who was later identified as an ex-felon who was on parole. Several witnesses reported that after Officer Tarantino arrived on scene, he conducted a search of the parolee. Shortly thereafter, the two men were seen wrestling on the ground, after which the parolee threw Officer Tarantino onto the highway. Witnesses then reported seeing the parolee holding what appeared to be a police service revolver. One witness said the parolee waived a gun in the air and pointed it at the Officer Tarantino’s head after which three shots were heard and Officer Tarantino fell to the ground. Officer Tarantino was then seen getting back up and continued to fight for his life at which time one more shot was heard and Officer Tarantino was again seen falling to the ground. Officer Tarantino died at the hospital from gunshot wounds to his head and stomach. The officer’s revolver was found on a hillside at the scene. The revolver contained two unfired bullets and four cartridge cases. The Parolee was convicted of first degree murder and two counts of a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 7 years to life. The man that brutally murdered Officer Tarantino is still in prison today
Sergeant Paul Starzyk – Badge #98
On September 6th, 2008, Sergeant Starzyk responded to a report of shots fired at a beauty salon in Martinez. Upon arrival, Sergeant Starzyk heard the sounds of shots being fired and women and children screaming in a nearby apartment. Sergeant Starzyk ran up a flight of stairs at which time he was confronted by the suspect who had just killed an innocent woman who was trying to protect her family. The suspect had 16 rounds of ammunition in his pocket and had told a witness that he was going to kill family members to teach his ex-wife a lesson. The suspect had a history of domestic violence and was in violation of a domestic violence restraining order at the time. The suspect fired at Sergeant Starzyk and K-9 Officer Leong who had also arrived on scene. Sergeant Starzyk was shot in the upper chest above his body armor. Even though Sergeant Starzyk had been mortally wounded, he returned fire preventing the suspect from killing additional innocent people and fired the bullet that ended the life of the suspect. Sergeant Starzyk was immediately transported to the trauma center where he succumbed to the fatal gunshot wound. Sergeant Starzyk is responsible for saving the lives of five people.