Dennis Guerra, a police officer killed while responding to a fire in Brooklyn Sunday, grew up and lived in Queens, and his neighbors are now trying to cope with what they call the community's loss. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
People who knew Dennis Guerra said he was a great neighbor and father.
He would often look out over the neighborhood from his balcony in the home he grew up in. Just this past Friday, his next-door neighbor, Dilcia Carrion, said he saw Guerra teaching his 7-year-old how to ride a bicycle.
"He's great. Fun-loving guy," Carrion said. "There's a person, sweet, loving, always there for his family."
Carrion said she's known Guerra since kindergarten and remembers him as a practical joker when he was young and dependable as an adult.
"Great person, really great person," she said. "Just so sad."
"Definitely a caring guy," said neighbor Joe Taratini. "He many a times looked out after my in-laws' property, knowing that my father-in-law wasn't here at the time due to health issues. So he was a great neighbor."
Taratini, who was working on his in-laws' house across the street, knew Guerra in passing but shared public service. He's a firefighter.
"Our job, whether you're a police officer or a fireman, you're there to help, and they were acting in that capacity," he said. "It's obviously a dangerous situation. Their adrenaline and instinct took over, and they went to help. Unfortunately, they were met with these circumstances. It's a tough situation."
A clerk at a corner store didn't know Guerra by name but remembered him as a regular.
"He was a nice guy," the clerk said. "He always come with respect to the store, and each time he came, he was waiting for everybody to go."
Another neighbor said Guerra looked out for others but didn't make a big deal about it. A humble hero, for sure.