Officer Dennis Guerra, one of the two officers critically injured after rushing into a burning Coney Island apartment building to help residents, died from his injuries early this morning.
Guerra, 38, a married father or four, was first declared brain dead and on life support yesterday. This morning, at 6:50 a.m., he further slipped away and was pronounced dead at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, according to the New York Post.
“We lost a good man this morning. Officer Guerra was exemplary – he went to try to help people in need. Our hearts go out to the Guerra family – we will stand by them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I have gotten to know his family in the past few days, a wonderful family,” the mayor said. “On behalf of all 8.4 million New Yorkers, our hearts go out to them.”
Guerra was an eight-year veteran of the force.
His partner, Rosa Rodriguez, 36, remains in critical condition, and a family member told the Daily News that “She’s doing much better,” and that doctors believe she may make a full recovery.
The two were injured after they rushed into a New York City Housing Authority building at 2007 Surf Avenue in response to a fire on Monday. They arrived mere minutes after the call and took the elevator up to the 13th floor.
When the doors opened, thick black smoke blasted into the elevator. Rodriguez and Guerra called for backup, and were heard over the police scanners gasping for breath before becoming unresponsive to the dispatcher’s calls.
Police arrested 16-year-old Marcell Dockery, a tenant in the building who reportedly confessed to lighting a mattress on fire in the hallway because he was “bored.” The fire spread more quickly than he anticipated, and he fled to his apartment on another floor.
Dockery has been charged with two counts of assault, one count of arson, and one count of reckless endangerment.
The district attorney may tack on felony murder charges for the death of Guerra.
His mother also faces eviction from the building because of his actions.