Jersey City cop dies from gunshot wounds

July 21, 2009 10:16:04 PM PDT
A Jersey City police officer who was wounded in a shootout with two armed robbery suspects last week has died. Mayor Jerramiah Healy says Officer Marc DiNardo, who had been on life support, was pronounced dead around 9:35 a.m. Tuesday.

  • SLIDES: Officers shot in Jersey City

    The 37-year-old was shot in the face with a shotgun blast as he and other officers tried to storm an apartment during the July 16 gun battle.

    "This is such a great loss to us," Mayor Jerramiah Healy said. "It takes a special person to run toward danger when your most basic human instinct is to avoid it. Marc exemplified that special character."

    Four other officers were shot in the encounter and three more suffered minor injuries.

    The suspects were killed.

    DiNardo was a married, 10-year veteran who had a 3-year-old son and two daughters, ages 1 and 4. His family issued a statement over the weekend calling him "a fighter" and thanking the community for its support and prayers.

    Deputy Chief Peter Nalbach says at the family's request, doctors began harvesting organs from DiNardo for transplant.

    DiNardo was shot as cops stormed a Reed Street apartment building, trying to arrest two suspects wanted for a violent robbery that was caught on surveillance camera last month.

    Police cornered the suspects, Hassan Shakur, 32, and Amanda Anderson, 22, last Thursday. After a gun battle, both were shot and killed, but not before unloading a barrage of shotgun blasts, shooting and wounding five officers.

    DiNardo's family and friends called him a true hero and they aren't the only ones who feel that way.

    Officer Michael Camacho, who was initially listed in critical condition for a gunshot wound to the neck, was upgraded to serious but guarded condition Sunday.

    DiNardo had no signs of life when he arrived at the medical center Thursday and had to be revived "five or six" times before he could be stabilized in critical condition.

    He and the 25-year-old Camacho were the first SWAT officers inside Shakur's apartment during the assault, which began when a battering ram smashed the steel door open. Shakur was five feet away and opened fire as the door swung open.

    He and Anderson were wanted in connection with a June 18 armed robbery in Jersey City, in which a man was shot in the stomach with the shotgun. They also were suspected of a similar robbery in South Carolina.

    Shakur was buried in Jersey City on Monday in a traditional Muslim ceremony. Beforehand, his sister offered an emotional apology for her brother's actions.

    "I want to apologize to the state of New Jersey for the terror that my brother brought upon your city," said Monique Hosendove, who traveled from Hampton, S.C., for her brother's funeral.

    "I am so sorry to the families of all the officers," she said, adding that she was especially sorry to hear of DiNardo's worsening condition. "We were praying so hard for him to pull through."

    "My family is grieving the loss of my brother, because we didn't understand what was inside his head that would make him hurt people when he was such a lovely person - the one we knew."

    According to autopsies released Monday on Shakur and Anderson, 19 bullets were found in Shakur's body.

    "He was hit more times than that," Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said. "There were numerous wounds - to the head, torso and extremities - above the 19."

    Anderson died from a gunshot wound to the base of the skull and was also hit in the hand, he said.

    DeFazio said Shakur fired his shotgun a total of 10 times - three outside and seven from inside his apartment. At least six officers fired more than 50 times inside the apartment complex. DeFazio said that number was so high because at least two of the weapons police used were automatic.

    On Tuesday night, two more Jersey City police officers were injured during a confrontation with a suspect. A woman armed with a knife slashed two officers reponding to a domestic dispute, police said. The officers then shot and killed the woman.

    It was the second incident of the day in which police were injured. Hours before DiNardo died on Tuesday, a car chase roared through the street outside the hospital. The 3 a.m. chase and gun battle ended one block from a precinct decorated with purple and black bunting for DiNardo.

    Authorities said a trio of teenage gunmen rammed four police cruisers and opened fire on officers twice Tuesday morning during a chase that began after the teens allegedly robbed a pedestrian at gunpoint. No one was hit, but seven officers suffered minor injuries, boosting the toll the past week to 15 injured and one dead, according to Deputy Police Chief Peter Nalbach.

    The three teens were arrested and charged.

    Nalbach, a 33-year police veteran, said he can't remember a week when so many Jersey City officers have been hurt in the line of duty.

    "I hope this is just an anomaly and it passes quickly," Nalbach said of the spate of injuries.

    A wake for Officer DiNardo will be held on Thursday from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the McLaughlin Funeral Home, 625 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City.

    Funeral services will be held on Friday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Aedan's Church, 800 Bergen Avenue, Jersey City.