UNION CITY -- When Michael Guiardo was 10, he and his five-year-old sister Michelle were playing in their Union City apartment on Nov. 4, 1974 when two uniformed police officers came to their door. As they watched their mother fall to her knees, the siblings knew the news was not good.
Their father, Detective Nicholas M. Guiardo, had been fatally shot in a gunfight in front of the Rapido Taxi stand. He and his partner, Charles Kohrerr, had gone to investigate suspicious activity when a suspect began to shoot, hitting Guiardo first. After being shot, Guiardo managed to grab the supsect’s shooting arm which was pointed directly at Kohrerr’s chest, deflect the shot to his leg, and save his partner’s life.
Kohrerr attended the Union City Police Benevolent Association (PBA) No. 8’s dedication of a monument in the front hall of the William V. Musto Cultural Center on Tuesday to six policemen who lost their lives in the line of duty.
When asked how long the two were partners, Kohrerr responded, “Not long enough. If it weren’t for him, I would probably be number seven.”
He and Guiardo’s family remembered the detective as a happy-go-lucky family man. He was also the first Cuban on the Union City force, his partner explained, who was proud of his heritage and tremendously dedicated, as he literally gave his life to his work.
Guiardo’s son remembered their early, early morning hunting trips, stolen during the brief moments the detective wasn’t working. His daughter loved the motorcycle rides they used to take together, as Guiardo was a motorcycle cop.
“He started from scratch, and you could see the happiness in his face when he worked,” Michael said. “My mother told me, ‘Thank God. At least he died doing what he loved.’”
For more details about the event and the other officers honored, read this weekend's edition of the Reporter. -- Gennarose Pope