New York Daily News

April 11, 2014



Teen who allegedly started fire that killed Brooklyn cop slapped with murder charges as fallen cop’s relative breaks down

Marcell Dockery, 16, was hit with second-degree murder charges Friday as an uncle of fallen Officer Dennis Guerra became hysterical while in a waiting room to visit critically injured cop Rosa Rodriguez.


Marcell Dockery was slapped with second degree murder charges on Friday for allegedly starting a fire that killed a cop.

Emotions boiled over in a hospital waiting room when the uncle of a hero cop who died of smoke inhalation this week screamed at a dozen cops and then broke down in tears.

“This shouldn’t have happened!” Police Officer Dennis Guerra’s uncle hollered Friday near the burn unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell.

“They shouldn’t have to go into somewhere it isn’t safe!” he railed. “They don’t have the equipment! My nephew is dead!”

Guerra, 38, died Wednesday — three days after he and Officer Rosa Rodriguez rushed into a fire on the 13th floor of a building on Surf Ave. in Brooklyn. Rodriguez, 36, is in critical condition at New York-Presbyterian where cops gathered to support her family.

The drama erupted in the hospital waiting room, as an indictment was unsealed charging teenage firebug Marcell Dockery with second-degree murder. The 16-year-old, whom sources say told cops he set the mattress on fire in Coney Island because he was bored, faces 25 years to life if convicted.

Awash in grief and shaking with anger, Guerra’s uncle became hoarse from screaming so loud. He began sobbing and his adult daughter tried to calm him down.

“Dennis wouldn’t have wanted this!” she yelled. “Dad! Dad! Stop, please, please! Dennis wouldn’t have wanted this!”

But her distraught father lunged at a police officer trying to subdue him as he continued crying.

The uncle was quickly ushered away into another room while his hyperventilating daughter was given a wheelchair.

“My chest! My chest!” she cried out. “I’m so upset.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors praised the courageous cops and vowed to aggressively pursue a conviction against Dockery.

AP                                     JEFF BACHNER/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
At left: Officer Dennis Guerra died on Wednesday after rushing into a Brooklyn housing project on fire.
At right: Officer Rosa Rodriguez, in a family photo from 2005, is in critical condition.

“We will bring the defendant to justice for these terrible and horrific crimes,” Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said in a statement Friday announcing the upgraded charges.

“Both dedicated and courageous officers did not hesitate to risk their lives.”

Dockery’s lawyer, Jesse Young, indicated he intends to use reports that the teen tried to stomp the fire out and knocked on neighbors’ doors to warn them of the danger to fight the murder charge.

“He is not guilty,” Young told reporters Friday. “Not only is he presumed innocent — he is, in fact, innocent.”

He brushed off the fact that Dockery is a known firebug with a previous arrest for starting a blaze.

Police officers crowd the hallway at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Friday, waiting for Marcell Dockery to be indicted in the death of Officer Dennis Guerra.

“Someone being fascinated by fires is not new to mankind,” Young said.

Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, praised the upgraded charges Friday.

“It will start us on the road to achieving justice,” he said.

“It will not bring our fellow officer, Dennis Guerra, back to our ranks.”

Guerra, a married father of four, was the first NYPD officer to die in the line of duty since the Dec. 12, 2011, shooting of Officer Peter Figoski, also in Brooklyn.

With Rocco Parascandola and John Marzulli