The Pekearo/Latman Family

The Pekearo/Latman Family

Nicholas Pekearo Endowed Scholarship in Creative Writing

Established in 2007 in memory of SUNY Empire State College student and auxiliary police officer Nick Pekearo by his late mother Iola Latman and brother Christopher Latman, The Nicholas Pekearo Endowed Scholarship in Creative Writing is awarded to students in Creative Writing or a related field, who have a demonstrated writing ability and experience.


On a beautiful spring evening in 2007, the sidewalks of Greenwich Village packed with pedestrians, two auxiliary police officers were shot and killed by a deranged man who had already murdered a restaurant worker. Nicholas Pekearo, 28, was a student studying creative writing at Empire State College, and his partner, Eugene Marshalik, 19, was studying at New York University (NYU). The two officers followed the killer from location to location until he turned on them. New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly said, “The fact that more lives were not lost is due in no small measure to auxiliary officers Pekearo and Marshalik who tried valiantly to observe his actions and changing locations as he fled the murder scene.”

Nick Pekearo was born in New York City and grew up in Greenwich Village. He was truly a product of the Village when it was a diverse mix of people from different ethnic, social, economic and other groups. He saw himself as a person who could make a difference and part of making that difference was his volunteering to be an auxiliary police officer. It was a way to contribute his services for the greater good.

Nick was a gifted writer. His characters struggle to be good people, despite the odds against them. Some of his inspiration came from his years of reading and collecting comic books. In one of his more autobiographical pieces he referred to the importance of these heroic stories as “lessons about life.” He was especially drawn to heroes who, unlike Superman, were vulnerable but still risked themselves in order to help others. In some ways, Nick was such a hero.

His volunteer police work, his work at the Crawford Doyle Bookstore and his fiction writing were all aspects of Nick, of his search to be a better person who made a positive impact on his world. Being an auxiliary policeman was his way to make the community in which he worked a safer place. The bookstore gave him a safe haven and a chance to read voraciously. Creative writing was the ultimate expression for Nick. His works reveal his profound intelligence, sensitivity, compassion and kindness.