NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Friends, family and fellow police officers bid an emotional final farewell Monday to NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra, who died after being critically hurt in a fire on Coney Island.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, thousands of police officers – and more than 10,000 people at all – lined the streets at Guerra’s funeral at the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, at 130 Beach 84th St. in Rockaway Beach, Queens. The hearse carrying Guerra’s remains passed through the beachside community, as NYPD helicopters performed a flyover and hundreds made their way into the funeral.
“It is very fitting. He was loved and adored by everybody he worked with and all who knew him,” Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
The 38-year-old was an eight-year veteran of the NYPD and lived in Far Rockaway with his wife Cathy and their four children – Kathleen, 20; Jonathan, 17; Alyssa, 14; and Zachary, 7.
“Dennis was a great cop and an even better person,” Valdez, Guerra’s commanding officer, told CBS 2’s Schneider. “He served this department with dignity and honor.”
Officer Guerra’s father, Denitor Guerra, is a retired NYPD detective who now works as an investigator for the New York State Attorney General’s office.
“It’s very difficult — imagine a father who wore the proud uniform of an NYPD detective to now have to stand before this church, realizing this funeral is for his son,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch. “It’s not supposed to be like that.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio was among those who spoke at the fallen officer’s funeral and announced a posthumous promotion for Guerra.
“The example of valor and devotion to duty that he set,” de Blasio said. “For that reason, the commissioner has chosen to posthumously promote to first-grade Detective Dennis Guerra.”