By Thomas Tracy
It’s too much to bear. Not even a month and a half after one of their officers was slain, the black bunting is once again adorning the doors to the 70th Precinct, in memoriam of another fallen officer. Officials said that 35-year-old Police Officer Francis “Frank” Hennessey, who had patrolled the streets of Flatbush for eight years, succumbed to a heart attack while he and his fellow officers responded to a call of a man with a gun – a call that was later determined to be “unfounded.” Upon hearing the report at 9:30 p.m. on January 9, Hennessey, a scooter cop, jumped into the back of a police cruiser that was racing to the scene. After they arrived at the corner of Farragut Road and Flatbush Avenue and learned that they were on a wild goose chase, Hennessey got out of the car, complained about chest pains and collapsed. A fellow officer resuscitated him before paramedics arrived. He was rushed to Kings County Hospital and later transferred to SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at noon on January 10, officials said. His colleagues in the 70th Precinct described Hennessey as a happy, friendly person. “He was always smiling,” said one cop. “We don’t need this,” said another officer, noting that the officers in the precinct were still reeling from the death of another brother in blue. In late November, the black bunting was put up in memoriam of Police Officer Dillon Stewart, who was shot and killed in the line of duty as he and his partner Paul Lipka chased down a man speeding through a red light on Church Avenue. Even though the bullet cut through his heart, Dillon kept on going, ultimately chasing the suspect into an underground garage on East 21st Street. Following his death, Stewart was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective. “He was a good cop,” Lt. Gerard Hirschfield told reporters. “He was really good with the kids,” recalled Ed Powell, the president of the 70th Precinct Community Council. “He went out of his way to talk to the wayward youth, so to speak. The kids knew him very well.” Hennessy, council members recalled, was stationed at Newkirk Plaza. As this paper was going to press, the council and the Flatbush Development Corporation were preparing a tribute in his honor at Newkirk Plaza for late next week. Still, no tribute or memoriam would dissipate the dark cloud currently hanging over the Lawrence Avenue stationhouse. “I just left there,” said Powell. “I can tell that spirits are really down. I think they can all use some comforting words and deeds right now.” Hennessy, a native of Ireland, is survived by his wife Regina and his two daughters, ages 2 and 5. He is the recipient of three NYPD commendations. His wake will take place Thursday, January 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Friday, January 13, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the M.J. Smith Funeral Home, 248 Prospect Park West. A funeral Mass was scheduled for Saturday, January 14 at 9:45 a.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 2805 Fort Hamilton Parkway, before the burial at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village.