January 11, 2006

City cop dies on job in Brooklyn


A city cop who collapsed from an apparent heart attack while responding to a call of an armed man became the city's first officer this year to die in the line of duty yesterday, police said.

Police Officer Francis Hennessy, 35, who was assigned to a scooter patrol in Brooklyn's 70th Precinct, was rushed to SUNY Downstate Medical Center in East Flatbush Monday night. He died at noon yesterday, police said.

Hennessy, of Windsor Terrace, was at Newkirk Avenue near Ocean Avenue in Flatbush at 9:40 p.m. when he jumped into the marked patrol car to join two other officers rushing to the 911 call, police said.

When they arrived at the intersection of Farragut Road and Flatbush Avenue, about a half mile away, Hennessy stepped out of the car and collapsed on the street, according to police.

Police said that the 911 call of an armed gunman was never confirmed.

While officials said an autopsy by the city medical examiner will confirm the cause of death, sources said it appeared that Hennessy may have succumbed to a heart attack.

An eight-year veteran of the force, Hennessy received three departmental commendations for excellence on duty during his career, police said. His family could not be reached for comment yesterday.

His death is the first this year for an on-duty city police officer, and is the second for the 70th Precinct since the Nov. 28 shooting death of Police Officer Dillon Stewart.

In February 2004, Sgt. Keith Ferguson, 38, also of Brooklyn, died while chasing a suspect on foot in lower Manhattan. The 17-year veteran died of a heart attack, a medical examiner's report concluded.

A wake is scheduled for Thursday and Friday mornings at MJ Smith and Sons Funeral Home 248 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. A funeral Mass will follow Saturday morning at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Windsor Terrace.