Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc. — Paul DiGiacomo, President

The DEA Honor Roll

Official Line of Duty Deaths

Russel Timoshenko

Rank: Detective, first grade

Shield Number: 7143

Command: 71 Precinct

Date of Death: 07/14/2007

Cause of Death: Shot when approaching subjects

At approximately 2:30 a.m. on July 9, 2007, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, three hoods with significant criminal records — Lee Woods, Dexter Bostic, and Robert Ellis — were joy-riding in a stolen, black BMW SUV when Patrolmen Herman Yan and Russel Timoshenko noticed the plate on the car had been reported stolen. The Officers ordered the vehicle to pull over and as they cautiously approached, they were met with a hail of gunfire. Timoshenko went down instantly, shot in the head, with bullets ripping into his neck, mouth, and nose. Twenty-six year old Yan was hit in the chest and left arm, but managed to squeeze off shots at the fleeing vehicle before he collapsed. Security cameras from a nearby pre-school caught the shootout on fuzzy footage.

Within seconds, Detectives from the 71 Squad, in the area on an unrelated case, raced to the scene. They realized Timoshenko could not hold out for an ambulance, so they bundled him into the back of their car and rushed him to the hospital. Paralyzed and unable to breathe freely, Timoshenko was put on life support at Kings County Hospital. Yan was injured, but in far better condition. The metal plate in his protective vest took the brunt of the bullets that struck him.

The three perps went on the lam. All had significant violent criminal histories. An intense manhunt for the two missing gunmen ensued and both perps were nabbed within days in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. On Friday, July 13th, they faced arraignment in Brooklyn. But on Saturday, July 14, doctors lost their valiant struggle to keep Timoshenko alive and he died without regaining consciousness. All three perps were arraigned again: this time on charges of murder in the first degree.

The death of Officer Timoshenko heightened the call for the death penalty for cop killers in New York. It was also a reminder of the consequences of the ever-flowing pipeline of illegal firearms from the south and the dangers inherent in routine traffic stops.

Timoshenko was just one year out of the Police Academy. He was first assigned to the 70 Precinct before transfer to the 71. Tall, blonde, handsome, and athletic, he enjoyed lifting weights among other sports, and was known to his friends as “Russel the Muscle.” His parents emigrated to the United States from Belarus, formerly in the Soviet Union, in 1993. An only child, he attended Tottenville High School in Staten Island where he played lacrosse, as he did at City College, where he was an excellent student. He was a natural at nurturing and protecting others, and with a strong sense of community and a deep desire for public service, he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement after being inspired by a neighbor who was on the force.

At his funeral service on July 19, 2007, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly announced Timoshenko’s posthumous promotion to Detective First Grade on July 27, 2007 as “a small measure of our appreciation for the supreme sacrifice” that he made. The funeral ceremony was performed mostly in Slavonic Russian, accompanied by chanting and choral singing reflective of Timoshenko’s Orthodox roots.

Det. Timoshenko was survived by his parents and his beloved Yorkie and a Doberman pinscher. Only 23 years old, Timoshenko is possibly the youngest member of the NYPD killed in the line of duty.

In addition to various annual motorcycle runs, in June of 2008, a Staten Island soccer field was named in honor of Det. Timoshenko. In July 2008, there was a tree dedication at the 71 Precinct in his memory. On Medal Day 2008, Timoshenko and Yan each received the Medal of Honor. On November 15, 2009, Durant Avenue between Buffalo Street and Hopkins Avenue in the Bay Terrace section of Staten Island was renamed “Det. Russel Timoshenko Way.” On June 7, 2018, an NYPD Mounted Unit horse was named in Timoshenko’s honor. In October of 2019, an NYPD ESU-K-9 German Shepherd was named in Det. Timoshenko’s memory.

Click on the pdf file link below to read the obituary that appeared in The Gold Shield magazine, September 2007 issue:

Russel Timoshenko The Gold Shield Obit

Click on the pdf file link below to read the Medal Day 2008 entry from the New York Police Department:

Russel Timoshenko Medal of Honor



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