12/12/2005

Slain NY cop had big dreams

BY ASHLEY HARRELL, LUIS PEREZ AND BRYAN VIRASAMI. STAFF WRITERS

Copyright 2005 Newsday, Inc. 

Daniel Enchautegui wasn't just a kind officer, a gentleman and a churchgoing son. He had big plans for his career in the Police Department.

"He always wanted to be a big boss in the Police Department one day; that was his dream," the cop's father, Pedro Enchautegui, said outside his Bronx home yesterday.

These were some of the thoughts that friends, police buddies and neighbors recalled yesterday about Enchautegui, 28, who was killed when he tried to stop a burglary outside his home in the Bronx on Saturday.

Soon after Enchautegui became a teenager, he and his parents moved from Astoria to Bryant Avenue in the Bronx. Eventually, he moved into a basement apartment on Arnow Place in the Pelham section of the Bronx.

After finishing a Spanish language sermon at the Church of St. John Chrysostom, the Rev. Carlos Rodriguez remembered Enchautegui as a congregant who fits his description of a true hero.

"We have a real hero now. To have a sports hero is one thing" Rodriguez, referring to the example Enchautegui's actions set. "That's the kind of inspiration we should be looking for. We see so much evil, so much plight, so much war, it was nice to see someone doing the right thing."

Shortly after the shooting, police arrested and charged two Yonkers men, Steven Armento and Lillo Brancato Jr., with murder. Brancato played a wannabe mobster in "The Sopranos" and starred with Robert De Niro in "A Bronx Tale."

Through a spokesman, De Niro issued a statement calling the shooting "deeply disturbing news, a tragedy beyond comprehension" and sent his "deepest sympathy to Officer Enchautegui's family."

As family consoled each other at Enchautegui's parents' home, his sister was thinking about the times he visited her and her kids.

Yolanda Rosa, 41, remembered him as always wanting to be a cop, although their mother expressed concern for his well-being.

"I'm the only one left," Rosa said. "I had a sister who died of cancer, and now he's gone."

Police Officer Mario Miranda, 39, who works in the NYPD's screening office, visited the house where the shooting occurred yesterday and lit a candle outside. Miranda recalled interviewing Enchautegui when he was applying to the force.

"He was too excited - very excited," about becoming a cop, Miranda said.

"He said he wanted to work in the Bronx and just wanted to make it safe, the neighborhood," said Miranda, who last spoke to the cop a year ago. "He loved the job - you could see it." 
 
Photo - Enchautegui
 
December 12, 2005

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