Brooklyn Girl Who Died From Asthma Attack Laid To Rest

NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) —   After the funeral mass for 11-year-old Briana Ojeda, the  horse-drawn carriage carrying her casket made one special stop before going to the cemetery — at her home in Boerum Hill.

Ojeda died following an asthma attack Friday in which an NYPD officer allegedly refused to offer assistance to the young girl’s mother, who was stopped on the way to the hospital.

CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reported neighbors turned the front steps of the girl’s home into a shrine. Her dogs were part of the farewell also.  At the funeral parlor, David Aviles, and Anisia Perez — who were practically an uncle and aunt to the girl — said they were relieved that the NYPD suspended Officer Alfonso Mendez.

“We were asking God to vindicate her…do something for this child before she leaves, and He did,” Perez said.

The on-going NYPD internal investigation into whether an officer did enough to try to save her life made Wednesday an extremely difficult day for the 11-year-old girl’s family.

The morning funeral for Ojeda was held at St. Francis Xavier Church. The Park Slope church was filled with tears for little Briana whose casket was carried along 6th Avenue.

“This was tragic,” her teacher, Rebecca Rodan said, “She was too young to go.”

Briana’s father, Michael, cried as he read a poem that said, “Your love is still our guide, though we can not see you, you are always by our side.”

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

The NYPD’s Internal Affairs spent several days trying to identify the officer who allegedly failed to help a mother last week as her daughter suffered an asthma attack.

One of the reasons why the NYPD and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were so upset is because it took four days to locate Officer Mendez. Many in the Department feel he should have turned himself in.

The five-year veteran of the NYPD, assigned to the 84th Precinct in downtown Brooklyn, was suspended without pay for thirty days for failing to report his involvement in the incident.

In a brief and exclusive encounter with CBS 2, Mendez wouldn’t say much, but his wife of nine years immediately came to his defense. “If he could have done more, he would have,” said Damaris Mendez.

“He’s destroyed because…we have children too. What happened is tragic and I’m sorry for her loss,” Damaris Mendez said.

She confirmed what Briana Ojeda’s family said from the very beginning — that a panicked Carmen Ojeda did in fact encounter a police officer as she tried to get her dying daughter to a nearby hospital.

“So he’s just standing there. My mother goes ‘Do you know CPR? Do you know CPR?’ At this point everybody’s frustrated and he, with a little smirk on his face, says ‘No. I don’t know CPR’,” said witness Eria Domenech.

“He was alone and he just, you know, he was scared,” Damaris Mendez said.

Carmen Ojeda said she got back in her car and continued driving, but it was too late. Briana was pronounced dead about an hour later at Long Island College Hospital.

“She’s the most beautiful baby a mother can have. And I’m going to miss my baby,” Ojeda said.

The NYPD does, in fact, train its officers in CPR, but they are not obligated by law to perform it. That is why this case remained an administrative and not a criminal investigation.


One Comment

  1. Clara says:

    This is why I believe cops should meet the same requirements as the State Police. I’m sorry to say State Police (though far more harsh and tactical) are clearly more organized and thorough. They are required 60 credits from a college or university, taught more social skills and, of course, get certified in CPR. The NYPD should take note.

  2. Sabrina says:

    I am only a casino employee yet I was forced to learn (and in the case of emergencies, implement) CPR. I DARE a police officer say to me they do not know CPR. It’s so simple, Girl Scouts do it. He should be fired.

  3. Helo says:

    CPR or no, he should have done more than just smirk. And to defend someone like that is not right. If he came out when this hit the media instead of taking up NYPD resources to find him after 4 DAYS, i wouldn’t feel so strongly if there was any kind of remorse, which i have not seen but only from his wife. Too many times have law enforcement used the excuse of being under pressure or too much is going on to know what was happening, or just plain incompetence as an excuse to get away with shootings, beatings, and now this. They are paid and trained to handle a wide range of situations, and if they fail at that, then they have no business wearing a Shield.

  4. Mystiling says:

    I am very sad to hear about Briana. But unfortunately, a very disturbing incident happened the day of her funeral. As the line of cars was passing
    around 6th Avenue and 3rd street, an ambulance was trying to cross the line. A friend or family member that was in the line got off his motorcycle and
    would not let the ambulance cross. For what appeared to be a long time, the ambulance blowing its horn to pass and the ignorant person continued to
    yell and make finger gestures finally was able to cross the line. This Was unbelievable to see, the reason the family will be saying that the hold up
    might have played a part in their daughters death, Now someone attending the funeral could of played a similar role. Who knows what kind of emergency
    was in that ambulance??

  5. ana says:

    Sahara las personas como tu lo que me dan es muchoa pena pq si no cres en dios en que cres? en ti dios no le tenia que darle cpr con solo deceir vivira ella vivia dios tiene un proposito en todo lo que ase y segun es su amor es su ira comprendo que para el hombre el unico bien es gozar la vida mientras haiga salud y es mejor buscar del se~or en el amor y no por causa del dolor porque no es lo mismo llamar al diablo que verlo venir pq se gun exsiste dios exsiste el diablo y el es el que te esta usando y apoderandose de tus pensamientos para que con tus palabras enga~es a personas ignorantes para que en lo que tu dices pero no importa orare por ti para que tengas un encuentro personal con el y sepa lo mucho que te ama 🙂 y te des de cuenta que es tan real como la que te habla que dios te bendiga

  6. lele says:

    im glad everyone is worried all about what he (officer mendez)did and didnt do but no one question why did the mother wait so long to take her daughter to the hospital. another thing is how long was the mother at the location where she had the accident at before they flagged down the officer and being that there was so many people there telling the officer what he needs to do and many witnesses why didnt anyone call 911? why only blame the officer and not blame the mother with not takeing action for her daughter a little quicker!!

  7. lele says:

    @marcus we r all tax payers and to be honest with you not every officer is trained to do cpr!! if anyone is qualified to do cpr they r not obligated to do anything!! im glad you know the equipment that the officr carries but when you can not get in contact with the actual operator then wat? he could of been the first person (HUMAN) there as well as if he could of been the last but if doesnt know how to do cpr why even try!

  8. Marisol says:

    @ Anthony no offense but just because u r CPR qualified does it mean all cops are. Some go to they academy and receive a book on how to give CPR, nothing else. This does not make u qualified to preform CPR. Either way u and i now if he would have given this child CPR in the state she was they would have blamed him for giving CPR to a child who’s air ways were closed, there for they would have said he delayed by given unecessary CPR . Lets be real, he did what he could and I hope u never go through this and remember this story. Btw u should also know that there wasn’t 1 call to 911 regarding this child. There were plenty of people there yet no one called but they r judging the cop who cleared and escorted this child and her mom. God Bless u and I hope u r not offended. I am just responding to ur comment.

    1. marcus says:

      Very well thought out but ,
      1) he is trained in cpr which we as taxpayers paid for
      2)he as a radio
      3)he is not perfect but he was trained for emergency help he is a first responder
      4)he didn’t come forward right away but was pressured to do so

  9. Sahara says:

    terry jackson
    you are jealeous because you are not bilingual. Shame on you, Spanish is USA’s second language. I see, you are not smart enough to learn a second language right? “La envidia es mejor despertarla que sentirla”.

  10. Sahara says:

    god is imaginary if he/she/it was around why did not perform CPR to Briana?

  11. Sahara says:

    Una familia con una hija asmatica y con la casa llena de perros. Me imagino la higiene del lugar donde viven. Ha y a proposito, dios no existe dios es el amigo imaginario de los ignorantes. Si dios existiera le hubiera dado CPR a esa chica.

  12. Ben Maine says:

    lso she should have known CPR!Well the cop will be blamed but to his defense, the mother must have been hysterical, so out of her mind she was driving the wrong way dwn a one way street and not even in teh street as she hit a parked car. How was the cop supposed to know what was going on? The mother was probably yelling, crying and babbling incoherently! The cop had to evaluate the situation, which I am sure took a few minutes. How long before the cop arrived did teh asthma attack occur.

  13. lele says:

    i am asthmatic and so is my children, i would never had let it go as far as the lady waited! especially on a hot day to let the child run and exort herself. the officer did do as much as he can do! why would he lie about a training that he never received! the best thing he did was to escort the mother to the hospital. the child was alive for an hour after the officer left why would he be blamed for clearing up the passage and getting her there. i really dont think he should be held responsible. he is the perfect son,brother,husband, father, and uncle and i am sure if he was able to do more he would of. im sorry for the loss of this little girl may she rest in peace!

  14. Luis says:

    This situation would have been different if the mother had seen any help coming from the officer. Even if the outcome was the passing of this little girl, if you see this officer moving heaven and earth to get the help necessary at least the family would have been thankful for they did all they could to help. BUT IT DIDNT HAPPEN.

  15. ana says:

    le quiero hablar al policia qiero que sepas que no todos pensamos igua en el dolor que isiste lo que sabias que nunca imaginaste lo que hiba a suceder pues yo pienpienso que yo tampoco lo pensaria no te preocupes todo pasara y tu jefe no saben el dano que te han hecho por que los policia no le pagan lo que le tienen que pagar a penas le da para vivir se que tu conciencia esta tranquila te ves una persona buena e inocente y tu mujer tambien se que le dolio mucho lo que le paso a esa madre pero ustedes no lo hicieron son cosas que suceden a diario lo que pasa que se queda en los hospitales esten tranquilo aqui no hay culpable tenia que ser asi .

    1. terry jackson says:

      Learn english., if you know english, then write english and not spanish

    2. Sahara says:

      terry jackson, you are jealous because you are not bilingual. Shame on you Spanish is the second language of USA go to school and learn it, so you can keept up with this forums.

  16. Gerard says:

    What would this officer or any other officer have done if he came across a colleague (fellow “boy in blue”) wheezing and gasping on the sidewalk?…..Whatever his response to that situation is what he should have offered to this little girl. Simple as that.

  17. rosa says:

    hola lme quiero unir a esas palabras de sabituria tiene razon cuando vi a esa nene era algo fuera de lo normal si su cara era como un angel de dios y todo pasa por algo creo que el tepartamento de la policia fue injusto con el guardia se ve lo inocente que es nunca imagino lo que sucedio el estaba orgulloso de lolo haces sin saber puedes madar a la persona ya que yo soy lo hases sin sabrelohaber prestado sus servicio jente humilde no todos actuamos igual mi corazon me dice que el y su familia estan unitas en su dolor ahora que estrenen mas a los policias y le den estrenamiendos cada seis meses por que dar los primeros auxilio no es facil y si lo hases sin saber puedes madar a la persona ya que yo soy enfermera y se lo dificil que es ademas que qui mueren muchos por ese mismo problema llegan al hospital y esta horas pero tambien dias y solo dios tenia el control y el hizo la mejor parte por que el conose el presente el pasado y el futuro reciban el amor de dios que los esta aprasanto usdetes no lo entienden ahora por su dolor pero voy a orar por ustedespara que tengan un encuentro personal con jesus y puedan entender por que pasan las cosas y amen a jesus que murio en una cruz por ti y por mi por que nos amaba y que resucitaria y nos esperari en el cielo unos alande y otros atras pero no vamos a volver aver esa es mi fe dios los bendiga.

    1. terry jackson says:

      Speak English. This is not a spanish site

      1. marcus says:

        It amazes me that in America people cant speak more than one language and think that that is a good thing.Weird huh or is that just me?

  18. maria says:

    I am an asthmatic person since I have knowledge ones i was giving class to my students i felt that I had asthma but did not want to leave my students alone and went to the hospital three hours later. When someone comes to my room and I could not breathe i got to the hospital with 6% of oxygen in my body i am telling you this because it was my negligence I understand that the mother of this girl would be very nervous, but she wants to blame the police he did what he could at the moment I think that this situation could have been avoided if the mother had been prepared.

  19. mary says:

    que dios te bendiga madre y te fortaleza en tu dolor se por lo que estas pasando tu y tu familia se que siente que te arangaron elcorazon de tanto dolor yo he pasado por eso y en nuestro dolor queremos lastimar yculpar sin darnos cuenta que nadie es culpable uste no lo es el policia tampoco las cosas estan en las manos de dios el lo pudo haber evitado pero necesitaba un angel en el cielo y ese angel era su hija donde esta esta feliz intersediendo por todos aca abajo se que ese angel de dios no quiere ver fam.sufriendo y menos perla a uste con rencor no hay nada que perdonarle anadie pero si cree que el polcia tuvo la culpa perdonelo para que su hija se feliz donde esta con papito dios esperandolos aya dichosos los que se vayan antes no veran las cosas que estan por suceder dios la bendiga se que usted tiene un corazon muy grande y diosle ayudara a salir adelante la quiero en el amor del sr.y he aprendido que todo sucede por algo y que dios tiene el control.

    1. terry jackson says:

      LEARN ENGLISH !!!!!

  20. mary says:

    i am mary i am a mother of 3 asmathic girls as a responseble mother i would have made it possible to get to the hospital before my douther gets to this stage and learn how to take care of a child whit such a problem it is easy to bleam others but remember that we are here barrowed and maibe god took that angel that is your child. this is the way that god calls us for that we can look for him.

    1. Doro says:

      I am an asthmatic and have had an attack come on so quickly while exercising that I collapsed after trying to walk to my inhaler. Thank goodness my husband was there to help. Who knows what happened in this case. Your statement about how you would have made it to the hospital before it got to that point is placing blame on a mother who may or may not have been able to do anything differently. If it comes on strong and bad, time is a challenge. I’ve gone to a doctor during the day only to be in the emergency room that same evening. Who knows what the situation was. Asthma is a scary thing that sometimes doesn’t look as serious as it is because there are few visible signs (maybe exaggerated breathing movements as the struggle commences) so it is easy for people to think it is not serious as was obviously the case in this instance. It is horrible that he didn’t escort them, but he probably had no clue. Doesn’t make it right, but there are instances like this every so often in the news because people don’t know the signs, and it’s not taught in the academy.

  21. Samaritan says:

    Juxtapose the response of “Officer” Mendez with that of a 911 dispatcher in Rockland:

    1. Marisol says:

      If you don’t Know CPR how would you explain to some one else how to give it Or for that matter how calm can you be when there are a group of people screaming for you to do some thing that you have no clue how to do. Remember he was not on a phone, he was there in person which is a completely different situation and this child wasn’t drowning or even speaking which would have meant her air ways were open. She was having an asthma attack which means her air ways were closed!! CPR wouldn’t have helped. She needed to have her airway open.

      1. Anthony says:

        Marisol I am sorry you are wrong all police officer are trained in cpr and if he was in a rmp and had a radio he could have requested a bus (Ambulance) for that child

  22. jey says:

    in my opinion i think that a police officer cant offer something that he dosent know how to give and as marisol said police are not doctors and this time this situation was out of his hands

  23. Marisol says:

    I believe that God knows when our time is up. Yes, this is tragic but please remember that Police Officers are not Doctors and contrary to what people think, not all are qualified in CPR. Some thing else that people should know is that when some one is having an asthma attack there is no air going in or out and CPR will most likely not help. This child was a live for an hour after she got to the E.R. If they couldn’t help what is a person like u and I going to do. He did escort her and clear the way for her. I believe he did try to help and my condolences to the family and friends. You are in my prayers. God Bless

    1. Danny says:

      Marisol, you are right no one by law is required to perform cpr, but couldn’t the office took the mother and child to the hospital in his squad car? He has a better means to get her help than the mother.

  24. jojo says:

    I thought cops are trained in CPR. If you are a mother especially of a child with asthma you should be trained in CPR.

  25. schrodinger_hated_cats says:

    I hope they deport this illegal before she pops out another anchor baby to replace this one. I’m glad the cop didn’t perform CPR– NO illegal should get ANY kind of health care on our taxpayer dollars.

    1. just wondering says:

      How do you know they were illegal??

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