Teen Charged In Coney Island Fire Ordered Held Without Bail
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The teenager charged with allegedly setting a fire in his Coney Island apartment building that critically injured two police officers has been ordered held without bail.
Marcell Dockery, 16, was arraigned late Monday. He was arrested and charged with arson, assault and reckless endangerment after police said he confessed to setting a fire Sunday on the 13th floor of a residential high-rise on Surf Avenue.
Police said the teen, who lives on the 12th floor of the building, told detectives he set fire to a mattress in the hallway because he was bored.
Officers Rosa Rodriguez and Dennis Guerra were responding to the fire when they became overcome by smoke and carbon monoxide after getting off the elevator on the 13th floor.
On radio transmissions, the officers could be heard gasping for air.
Guerra: “Can’t breathe, can’t breathe.”
Dispatch: “He can’t breathe. He’s on the 14th floor. They’re on the 14th floor. They can’t breathe.”
Dispatch: “OK, 13th floor.
The FDNY was just minutes behind them. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said firefighters found the officers “unconscious and unresponsive” in the hallway and pulled them to safety.
Sources said Dockery claims when he couldn’t put the fire out, he started banging on doors to warn residents. Off camera, his mother told CBS 2 she thinks her son caved into pressure during questioning with detectives.
Dockery had been arrested before as a 13-year-old for setting a fire in school. He had other sealed arrests for minor charges as a juvenile.
He was arrested after being spotted by police on a surveillance video leaving the building after allegedly setting the fire.
Meanwhile, the two officers are fighting to recover. Rodriguez remained in critical condition late Tuesday at Weill Cornell Medical Center while Guerra was in critical condition at Montefiore Medical Center.
Rodriguez, 36, is a mother of four and a four-year veteran of the NYPD Housing Bureau. Guerra, 38, is a married father of four and has more than seven years on the job. His father is a retired NYPD detective.
Police gathered at Montefiore Tuesday and stood vigil for Guerra. Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill Bratton also visited, WCBS 880’s John Metaxas reported.
A priest was also summoned to the hospital.
Meanwhile, as WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, New York City doesn’t have any protocols in place for police entering a burning building.
With the two officers having taken an elevator to the floor of the fire, when asked whether policies needed to be changed, Bratton gave a surprising response.
“We have determined the department has not, does not have, and has not had any policies specific to this issue of going into buildings and utilization of elevators,” the commissioner said.
Bratton noted it is a policy deficiency not unique to New York City. He added that a check with London, Los Angeles, and most other major cities revealed they do not have police department policy or training to address the issue either, Lamb reported.
Thirteen others were also injured in the blaze, including three firefighters.
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