NEW YORK, April 9 (UPI) -- A New York City police officer died early Wednesday after three days in a coma brought on by toxic smoke from a fire blamed on arson.
The teenager suspected of setting the fire in a public housing project in Coney Island in Brooklyn is now likely to be charged with the felony murder of Dennis Guerra. Another Housing Authority officer, Rosa Rodriguez, 36, remained in critical condition Wednesday.
Investigators say that Marcell Dockery, 16, set a mattress on fire in the hallway of the building where he lived early Sunday afternoon because he was bored. Dockery was charged Monday with assault, arson and reckless endangerment.
Guerra and Rodriguez, responding to the emergency, were knocked out by the smoke. Guerra never regained consciousness.
Mayor Bill De Blasio, ordering flags around the city to fly at half-mast, called Guerra "a very brave police officer ... who did something that most of us wouldn’t know how to do: He went selflessly toward the flames.”
Guerra, 38, had been a police officer for eight years. He is survived by his wife, Cathy, and four children.
He is the first officer with the country's biggest police department to die in the line of duty since December 2011.
[NY Daily News]