On Tuesday, June 27, as part of M.S. 101’s graduation, NYPD deputy commissioner of legal matters Larry Byrne and Staten Island borough commander Chief Ed Delatorre awarded grants to two students as a part of the Edward R. Byrne Scholarship Awards, which once again took place at Lehman High School.
This year, two middle school-graduating students, Tyler Savitz and Raymond Serrano, received awards and scholarships after writing essays about Larry’s brother, police officer Edward Byrne, who was murdered while on duty in Queens on February 26, 1988.
Police officer Byrne had been sitting alone in a marked patrol car in the early hours of the morning, after being assigned to a location where illegal activities had been previously reported.
While Byrne was sitting in his car, another vehicle pulled up alongside him.
Two men exited the vehicle – one broke the passenger side window while the other man snuck up on the driver’s side of the car and shot Byrne in the head five times with a .38 caliber pistol.
He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital less than a week after his 22nd birthday,.
Each year, students submit essays that reflect on the life and tragedy of Edward Byrne. The winners of the Edward R. Byrne Scholarship Awards receive a $250 scholarship towards their high school education.
“The students who have won this award and are given this scholarship have each shown a tremendous level of writing talent and display a bright future,” said Byrne, who is also the head trustee of the scholarship fund. “Although the story is unfortunate, it’s a great opportunity for these graduating students to learn more about this incident and these type of scenarios, while we can assist them in preparation for the next chapter of their lives.”
“He (Edward) would be very proud to know that these scholarships have been given out in his name,” Larry added.
“We are keeping his (Edward Byrne) memory alive with this award year after year,” said Delatorre, who Byrne says was instrumental in getting M.S. 101 co-named as the Edward R. Byrne School in 1996. “I am happy knowing that these students who have worked so hard on these essays are carrying on this great tradition of previous scholarship winners, and of course, Larry’s brother (Edward).”
Larry and his siblings, who went to school at Plainedge High School in North Massapequa, were raised in Highbridge before moving to Wakefield.
His family has had a connection in the Bronx since the 1950s. Larry’s father, Matthew, was previously the head trustee of the scholarship fund before passing away in the mid-2000s.
In Queens, the community conamed 91st Avenue, where Byrne was shot, as P.O. Edward R. Byrne Avenue in 1995, in dedication and honor of the fallen police officer.