JERSEY CITY, N.J. – A city police officer who was critically wounded in a shootout with two armed robbery suspects last week died Tuesday, one day before his 38th birthday and the same day police engaged in another gun battle nearby.
Detective Marc A. DiNardo, a 10-year veteran who had been on life support, was pronounced dead around 9:35 a.m. after doctors harvested his organs for transplant.
The 37-year-old was hit by a shotgun blast to the face July 16 as his SWAT team stormed the apartment where the suspects had taken cover. DiNardo had no signs of life when he arrived at Jersey City Medical Center that day and had to be revived several times before being stabilized in critical condition.
"This is such a great loss to us," Mayor Jerramiah Healy said. "It takes a special person to run toward danger when your most basic human instinct is to avoid it. Marc exemplified that special character."
Four other officers were shot in the encounter and three more suffered minor injuries.
SWAT team member Michael Camacho was upgraded from critical to serious condition Sunday with two gunshot wounds in his throat. The 25-year-old was still hospitalized Tuesday morning when a car chase roared through the street outside the hospital. The 3 a.m. chase and gun battle ended one block from a precinct decorated with purple and black bunting for DiNardo.
Authorities said a trio of teenage gunmen rammed four police cruisers and opened fire on officers twice Tuesday morning during a chase that began after the teens allegedly robbed a pedestrian at gunpoint. No one was hit, but seven officers suffered minor injuries, boosting the toll the past week to 15 injured and one dead, according to Deputy Police Chief Peter Nalbach.
The three teens were arrested and charged.
Nalbach, a 33-year police veteran, said he can't remember a week when so many Jersey City officers have been hurt in the line of duty.
"I hope this is just an anomaly and it passes quickly," Nalbach said of the spate of injuries. "Fifteen is a lot for us."
One or two injuries a week is about normal for the Jersey City force, whose 893 officers safeguard a city of 242,000 across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan.
DiNardo leaves behind his wife, Mary, and their three children, Gwendolyn, 4; Marc Anthony, 3; and Ella, 1. He is the 38th Jersey City police officer to die in the line of duty since the department was established in 1829.
"He will be greatly missed. He had a personality you could never forget, and when he walked into a room we all loved him," Officer Melissa Bartholomew said of DiNardo, a friend and fellow police academy classmate.
The triggerman on July 16, Hassan Shakur, was armed with a stolen 12-gauge tactical shotgun of the kind used by police. DiNardo and Camacho were heading inside Shakur's apartment behind a shield when he opened fire from five feet away as the door was swinging open. Neither officer got off a shot.
Shakur and his wife, Amanda Anderson, 22, were dead at the scene. An autopsy found 19 slugs in the gunman's body. Anderson, who was not wielding a firearm, died from a gunshot wound to the base of the skull and was also hit in the hand.
Shakur and Anderson were wanted in a June 18 armed robbery in Jersey City, in which a man was shot in the stomach with a shotgun. They also were suspected of a similar robbery in South Carolina.
Shakur was buried Monday. Beforehand, his sister apologized for her brother's actions.
"I want to apologize to the state of New Jersey for the terror that my brother brought upon your city," said Monique Hosendove, who traveled from Hampton, S.C., for her brother's funeral. "I am so sorry to the families of all the officers."
A wake has been scheduled for DiNardo on Thursday at Jersey City's McLaughlin Funeral Home from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass is planned for Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Aeden's Church.