Funeral Mass Planned for NYPD Officer Who Died After Arson Fire

By Katie Honan on April 11, 2014 9:59am 

 Officer Dennis Guerra, inset, was honored at a flag-lowering ceremony at NYPD headquarters after he died from injuries he sustained while responding to an arson fire Sunday.
Officer Dennis Guerra, inset, was honored at a flag-lowering ceremony at NYPD headquarters after he died from injuries he sustained while responding to an arson fire Sunday.
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Composite with DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg and NYPD

ROCKAWAY BEACH — Funeral services will be held Monday for Police Officer Dennis Guerra, who died Wednesday from injuries sustained responding to a suspected arson fire in Coney Island.

Thousands of officers are expected to turn out for the Mass, which will begin at 11 a.m. at St. Rose of Lima Church, 154 Beach 84th St. in Rockaway Beach, according to the local precinct commander.

A wake will also be held Sunday, April 13 at the James Romanelli Funeral Home, 89-01 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park, from 2-9 p.m.

Motorcycles and a helicopter flyover are expected at the funeral to honor Guerra, 38, a seven-year veteran and father of four who responded to a fire at an apartment building in Coney Island on Sunday.

He died Wednesday morning of smoke inhalation, according to police.

Guerra's death is the first police fatality in the line of duty since Officer Peter Figoski was shot in the head during a drug bust in 2011, and was heralded Wednesday as "the ultimate selfless act" by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton at a flag lowering ceremony at Police Headquarters.

The other officer who responded to the fire, Rosa Rodriguez, 36, remains in critical condition with carbon monoxide poisoning, officials said.

The suspected arsonist, Marcell Dockery, 16, was charged with assault, arson and reckless endangerment, according to court records, and is due back in court Friday.

Guerra began his career with the NYPD in 2001, working for four years as a school safety agent at Far Rockaway High School, police said.

He briefly left the NYPD in 2005 to become a city Correction Officer, working on Rikers Island, and was sworn in as a police officer in July 2006, police said.

He lived in a home at the end of an idyllic block in Bayswater, Queens, steps from Mott Basin, and was described by neighbors there as a "beautiful guy."

Guerra is survived by his wife, Cathy, and his children, Kathleen, 20, Jonathan, 17, Alyssa, 14, and Zachary, 7, police said.

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