The police officer critically hurt responding to the Coney Island apartment building blaze that killed her NYPD partner was released from the hospital Monday, more than a month and a half after the fire allegedly set by a 16-year-old boy.
Rosa Rodriguez, 36, left NewYork-Presbyterian's Cornell Medical Center shortly after noon in a wheelchair and wearing her uniform. She held bouquets of flowers as bagpipers played and NYPD officers lined up on either side of the walkway to applaud her heroism and resiliency following the April 6 fire on Surf Avenue.
Rodriguez and her partner, 38-year-old Dennis Guerra, had taken an elevator to the 13th floor to help evacuate the building but were overcome by smoke when the doors opened. Both officers were taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation; Guerra died last month of his injuries.
A married father of four and seven-year NYPD veteran, Guerra had two daughters, 20 and 14, and two sons, 17 and 7.
Fire investigators ruled the fire arson and charged 16-year-old Marcell Dockery with murder, arson and reckless endangerment. The teen allegedly started the deadly blaze by setting a mattress on fire.
The teenager pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month. His attorney, Jesse Young, said that Dockery was "coerced" into a confession after the NYPD allegedly turned the interrogation room into "a chamber of hell."
Dockery is due back in court May 29.