Slain NYPD lieutenant honored with street naming, cop grandson receives his shield number

Lt. Henry Schmiemann’s family, NYPD members and Council Member Robert Holden attended the street co-naming ceremony.
Photo courtesy of the NYPD

The corner of Penelope Avenue and 82nd Place in Middle Village in Queens now bears a new name honoring one of New York City’s finest who was shot and killed in the line of duty 50 years ago. 

On Saturday, June 22, NYPD representatives, elected officials, family members and friends of Lt. Henry Schmiemann gathered for the street co-naming ceremony in remembrance of the married father of five. 

The corner of Penelope Avenue and 82nd Place in Middle Village in Queens now bears the name of Lt. Henry Schmiemann. Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Lt. Henry Schmiemann had just celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Marilyn and was on his way to work on June 20, 1974, when he was approached by 26-year-old John Smith from Brooklyn at the corner of Penelope Avenue and 74th Street in Middle Village.


Smith, a criminal with a lengthy rap sheet, tried to rob Schmiemann at gunpoint. Schmiemann, who was assigned to the Inspection Services, identified himself as an officer and drew his gun. The perp shot Lt. Schmiemann; however, the 21-year NYPD veteran and United States Army Korean War veteran was able to return fire, wounding Smith, before Schmiemann succumbed to his injuries.

Lt. Henry Schmiemann was killed in the line of duty in 1974. Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) and the New York City Council were imperative in passing legislation to co-name the street for the hero. 

“Fifty years ago, Middle Village resident Lieutenant Henry O. Schmiemann was tragically robbed and killed on his way to work. I am proud to have partnered with the NYPD, Juniper Park Civic Association, Newtown Historical Society and the LBA to finally memorialize Henry’s name on a street sign where he lived, ensuring we always remember Lt. Schmiemann,” Holden told Queens Courier in a statement.

NYPD members attend the street co-naming ceremony for Lt. Henry Schmiemann. Photo courtesy of the NYPD

His grandson, also named Henry Schmiemann, followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and joined the NYPD over one-and-a-half years ago.

NYPD P.O. Schmiemann told QNS in a phone interview that the stories about his grandfather coming home after a long day of work and still caring for his five children inspired him to join the NYPD. 

“To me, I just thought that it was amazing that he was able to provide for his family after coming home from doing his job in the NYPD, especially during that time,” Schmiemann said. “When I became 22, I finally decided to take the test and join [the NYPD].”

Schmiemann, who grew up in his grandfather’s home on 82nd Place, shared that the street co-naming was an emotional event and long overdue.

“To see something commemorate him, especially on the block that he lived on, and seeing everybody there who [had] known my grandfather growing up, and known my parents and my other relatives, just really surprised me, because I never knew that he had touched so many people in different ways,” the rookie cop said.

In a surprising turn of events, NYPD Inspector Aaron Edwards, commanding officer of the Midtown South Precinct, presented the young Schmiemann with his grandfather’s patrolman shield, number 7780, at the ceremony. 

NYPD Inspector Aaron Edwards (left) presented NYPD P.O. Henry Schmiemann (right) with his grandfather’s patrolman shield. Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Schmiemann shared that when he joined the academy, he went on a quest to find his grandfather’s shield number. When he eventually tracked down the number, he was determined to “grab it.” 

“After a while, I kind of just was hoping that it would just show up one day, but I never thought it would happen on this day, which meant so much to me,” said Schmiemann of the shield number, which was also worn by NYPD P.O. Carolyn Anderson, who is assigned to Transit Bureau District 4, and a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, making her the department’s highest-ranking female military officer.

Schmiemann, whose parents are deaf, learned American Sign Language (ASL) as a young child and recently completed the NYPD’s Office of Equity and Inclusion American Sign Language Interpreter Certification Program. The valuable skill will help “close the line and bridge the gap between NYPD and those who are in need of help but can’t properly communicate the help that they need,” Schmiemann explained.

Henry Schmiemann’s dad Paul, (left) helps his son adjust his grandfather’s shield. Photo courtesy of the NYPD

In a phone interview with QNS, Schmiemann’s commanding officer, Inspector Aaron Edwards, shared that he met Schmiemann when he was assigned to his precinct. Edwards always sits down with the new officers assigned to his precinct to learn more about them and why they joined the NYPD.

Edwards explained they usually get a heads-up about officers who follow in their family members’ footsteps. 

“This was different. [Schmiemann] proceeded to tell me that his grandfather had been killed in the line of duty in the 70s. And that struck me,” Edwards shared. “I didn’t know, and it kind of spoke to his humbleness.”

Edwards solicited the help of DCPI to research the history of Lt. Schmiemann’s patrolman shield.

“We can find out where that shield is at the moment, and then we can have a conversation with that police officer that currently has a shield and then explain to them just how important this patrolman’s number is to this officer,” Edwards explained. “I think once you hear the story, once you understand the legacy, any officer will gladly trade that shield number with that cop.”

Edwards was “glad” that Schmiemann was part of his team at Midtown South. 

“Police officer Schmiemann has a bright future in this department,” Edwards said. “He is hard working. He is still fairly new. He started about a year-and-a-half ago. He’s already set himself apart. He’s motivated, he’s very humble. He gets along with everyone.”

Schmiemann knows he has some big shoes to fill, carrying on his grandfather’s legacy. 

“But honestly, I feel that everybody who was [at the street co-naming] is helping carry on this legacy with me,” Schmiemann said.”