Public wake held for NYPD officer Dennis Guerra Sunday

Kemberly Richardson has more from Ozone Park.
April 13, 2014 8:29:37 PM PDT
A public wake was held Sunday for NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. Officer Guerra died from injuries he suffered responding to a fire in Coney Island last Sunday. His partner, Rosa Rodriguez remains in critical condition.

Long after sunset, friends and strangers came to the James Romanelli Funeral Home to pay their last respects to Officer Guerra's family including his wife, Cathy, the couple's four children, and Guerra's mother.

Kiera Graham is friends with Guerra's 20-year-old daughter, Kathleen.

"She's being strong?he wanted her to be strong for the family," says Graham.

There has also been a strong show of support from many NYPD officers, including those from PSA-1, the precinct where Guerra worked. Cardinal Dolan, Police Commissioner William Bratton and members of the FDNY were also there.

Officer Guerra and his partner, Rosa Rodriguez responded to a high-rise fire in Coney Island. As the elevator doors opened on the 13th floor, the pair came face-to-face with an inferno ? a tremendous fire allegedly set by 16-year-old Marcell Dockery. Officer Guerra died Wednesday morning, hours later fellow officers paid tribute to him.

"This man was taken from his family, from his kids over that stupid kid that's bored, that decided to burn a mattress ? this hurts" says mourner Maria Cebero.

Officer Rodriguez remains in critical condition. Rodriguez' mother, who's been by her side in the hospital, came to Officer Guerra's wake. As a symbol of just how resilient the human spirit is, Rodriguez' daughters took a little time out to be kid as the two families are now facing their darkest days.

Officer Guerra's funeral mass will be held Monday morning at 11 at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Rockaway Beach.