The death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra, who succumbed yesterday to injuries sustained from the Coney Island fire set by a “bored” teen, marked a tragic milestone for the entire city. At 6:50 a.m. yesterday, he became the first cop to be killed in the line of duty since December 2011.
Hundreds of friends, family and colleagues gathered outside the hospital looked on as approximately 100 officers stood at attention in silence as Guerra’s flag-draped body was wheeled out of the hospital and into an ambulance.
The memorial service and funeral are still being planned. His partner, Rosa Rodriguez, remains in critical condition, although her doctors are optimistic about her recovery.
Meanwhile, the family of 16-year-old Marcell Dockery, the teen who confessed to lighting a mattress in the hallway on fire out of boredom, came forward yesterday to apologize for Dockery’s actions.
“This has been a tragedy, not only for one family but for many families. So, right now we are just apologizing, openly apologizing and saying God be with those officers,” a family spokesperson told News 12.
The incident will also lead to a policy change at the NYPD, according to Commissioner Bill Bratton. Currently, the NYPD does not have a policy in place about officers using an elevator when responding to a fire, even though elevators can become deadly traps. When firefighters use them during a fire, they take the elevator to a nearby floor below the fire, and use the stairs the remainder of the way. The NYPD will assess the best way of responding in such incidents, and create a policy to better protect officers in the future.