New York Daily News

January 11, 2006

Officer racing to call collapses, then dies

BY KERRY BURKE and ROBERT F. MOORE DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

A Brooklyn cop responding to an emergency call about a man with a gun collapsed on a street and died hours later, apparently of a heart attack, police said yesterday.

NYPD Officer Francis Hennessy, a 35-year-old father of two little girls, is the first city cop to die in the line of duty this year.

"Obviously, we're all devastated," his sister-in-law Theresa Colgan said. "He was a wonderful man."

Hennessy's supervisors said the slim cop had appeared to be in good health.

He was sitting on his NYPD scooter in Flatbush when the emergency call came over his radio at 9:36 p.m. Monday, police said.

He jumped into the back of a nearby patrol car and rode to Flatbush Ave. and Farragut Road with two other cops. When they got to the scene and climbed out of the car, another cop told them the 911 call was unfounded.

Hennessy took a couple of steps and then fell to the ground, experiencing chest pains. One of his fellow cops performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him before he was rushed to Kings County Hospital.

He was transferred to Downstate Medical Center, where he died at noon yesterday. An autopsy was pending.

"He was a good cop," said Lt. Gerard Hirschfield of the 70th Precinct, where Hennessy had spent his eight years with the Police Department.

Officer Dillon Stewart, 35, who was killed Nov. 28, also was assigned to the 70th Precinct.

"Our prayers are with the family of Police Officer Francis Hennessy, who demonstrated his devotion to duty to the very end," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

A native of Ireland, Hennessy loved his job, earning three commendations. But his real joy was his wife, Regina, and his daughters, ages 2 and 5.

"He was proud to be a father," said Officer Pat Connolly, 42. "That was his greatest pride."

His wake will take place Thursday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7p.m. to 9 p.m. at the M.J. Smith Funeral Home, 248 Prospect Park West. A funeral Mass was scheduled for Saturday at 9:45 a.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 2805 Fort Hamilton Parkway.

With Alison Gendar