Autopsy Being Performed On Officer Killed By Friendly Fire
By: NY1 News
TWC News: Autopsy Being Performed On Officer Killed By Friendly Fire
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An autopsy is set to be performed to determine the exact cause of NYPD Officer Eric Hernandez's death.
Hernandez was taken off life support Wednesday after spending a week and a half in the hospital.
Just before he was mistakenly shot by a fellow officer January 28th, he had been beaten by a group of men inside a Bronx White Castle.
After the beating, Hernandez stumbled into the parking lot and pulled a gun on another man he may have mistakenly believed was involved. That's when he was shot by an officer who didn't know he was an officer.
Depending on the autopsy's findings, the six men arrested by police could now face more serious charges.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said a preliminary investigation of Hernandez's shooting, while tragic, nonetheless appears to have followed department guidelines.
The NYPD mourns the loss of another of New York's Finest and prepares for his funeral, even as questions remain about the circumstances surrounding his death. NY1’s Solana Pyne filed this report.
Flags are at half-staff, and blue and black bunting hangs over the entrance to the 52nd Precinct station house in Bedford Park for Officer Eric Hernandez, who lost his fight for life Wednesday night, 11 days after he was shot by another police officer outside a Bronx White Castle.
“If I could be somebody, I'd want to be just like him,” Officer Daniel Baca said Thursday. “He was well-liked, he loved playing football, he was active. He was just a good, good man, and he will be missed."
As seen in surveillance video, Hernandez, a 24-year-old rookie, was badly beaten by a group of men while off-duty in a White Castle. After the beating, possibly disoriented, he pulled a gun on a bystander.
A police officer responding to a 911 call arrived at the scene, called out to Hernandez to drop his gun, and when Hernandez didn't respond, fired three shots.
Hernandez battled in vain to survive.
“Three hundred units of blood: An average person couldn't take 30 units of blood, and he went through 300 units of blood and he was still fighting, still trying to stay alive,” said Deputy Inspector Joseph Hoch.
Police wouldn't talk about the tragic circumstances that lead to his death, but painted a picture of a calm and professional police officer.
"A lot of times we face on the streets situations that have a tendency to escalate. Some guys would get angry, [and] he could always kind of diffuse those situations just with his mannerisms, what he said, maybe with a funny comment," said Dep. Insp. Hoch.
Police at the precinct the mood is simply one of sorrow as they mourn having lost one of their own.
“It's hard. It's just hard,” said Officer Baca. “It hits you when you find out it's one of your own. We all came here together."
Friends criticized reports that Hernandez had been drinking before the incident.
“Eric is not one to start trouble,” said friend Tara Cangemi. “He was very pleasant, very easygoing.”
“Even if he was, Eric was always the type of person that did everything in moderation,” added friend Jessica Pelletier. “He was very responsible.”
The funeral is scheduled for Monday in White Plains. Police say it will be a full inspector's funeral, a sign Eric Hernandez died in the line of duty.
- Solana Pyne