The younger man joined the auxiliary force after deciding he wanted to become a prosecutor.
"He would say he really enjoyed it," said Tatyana Kochergina said at her cousin's suburban home. "He got along with everybody on the squad. Sometimes he would ride along with the NYPD. He felt like it was where he wanted to be."
Auxiliary officers are not issued bulletproof vests but can wear them if they buy their own. Pekearo was wearing a bulletproof vest, but only one shot hit the vest; bullets punctured his skin six times.
Someone taped a sign to a neighborhood lamppost, along with pink silk flowers. It read: "Rest in peace, our beloved auxiliaries."
City officials said the two auxiliary officers, the first to die in the line of duty since 1993, would get full police honors at their funerals. Only five other auxiliary officers have died on the job in the city's history.
Kelly said the city's nearly 4,500 auxiliary officers are not required to respond to emergency calls, but often serve as the "eyes and ears" of the police force.
"Day in and day out, they sacrifice their free time and energy for the people of our city," Kelly said.
Associated Press writers Sara Kugler, Colleen Long and Jennifer Peltz in New York and Frank Eltman on Long Island contributed to this story.