MARTINEZ, Calif. – It’s been 10 years since Martinez Police Sgt. Paul Starzyk answered a call for help when an armed man terrorized patrons of a hair salon as he sought out his estranged wife and entered a nearby apartment. Starzyk was trying to save the five in the apartment when he was killed by the gunman.
A ceremony Thursday, Sept. 6, will memorialize Starzyk’s life and sacrifice with a flag raising in front of Martinez Police Department, announced Police Chief Manjit Sappal and Administrative Secretary Renee Jacobs.
Starzyk, who wore Badge No. 98 and who was commissioned Dec. 9, 1994, was responding along with another officer to a domestic disturbance call on Pacheco Boulevard the morning of Sept. 6, 2008.
The armed man originally entered the hair salon where his estranged wife worked, then forced his way into a second-story apartment, where his wife’s cousin was hiding.
As the two officers approached the apartment, they heard women’s screams and the sound of gunfire. The man had killed his wife’s cousin.
According to the Martinez Police Department’s account, “Sgt.Starzyk knowingly and willing placed himself in harm’s way by confronting the suspect who was threatening the lives of five occupants of the apartment…”
The man fired his .38-cal. handgun on the advancing officers, critically wounding Starzyk. But the injured officer returned fire, shooting and killing the suspect. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he died.
According to his law enforcement memorial page “The investigation determined that Sgt. Starzyk’s decisive and heroic actions saved the lives of two women and three children who were hiding in the apartment.
“Sgt. Starzyk did not survive his injuries making the ultimate sacrifice to protect the five occupants of the apartment. Sgt. Paul A. Starzyk was awarded the Medal of Valor posthumously for his extraordinary and heroic actions. The community will forever be indebted for his sacrifice.”
The Martinez Police Department’s ceremony will start at 8 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, in front of the Martinez Police Department, 525 Henrietta St. Refreshments will be served in the City Council Chamber afterwards.