By Victor Epstein
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A Jersey City police officer critically wounded in a shootout with two robbery suspects last week died on Tuesday, one day before his 38th birthday.
Mayor Jerramiah Healy said Officer Marc DiNardo, who had been on life support, was pronounced dead around 9:35 a.m.
The 37-year-old was shot in the face with a shotgun blast as he and other officers tried to storm an apartment Thursday.
The officer had no signs of life when he arrived at Jersey City Medical Center that day and had to be revived several times before he could be stabilized in critical condition.
His family issued a statement over the weekend calling him "a fighter" and thanking the community for its "overwhelming support and prayers." The married, 10-year veteran had a 3-year-old son and two daughters, ages 1 and 4.
"He will be greatly missed. He had a personality you could never forget, and when he walked into a room we all loved him," said Officer Melissa Bartholomew, a friend and fellow police academy classmate of DiNardo.
Deputy Chief Peter Nalbach said at the family's request, doctors began harvesting organs from DiNardo for transplant.
Hours before DiNardo's death, seven police officers dodged bullets and suffered bruises Tuesday while pursuing three robbery suspects.
Nalbach says the suspects fired at police twice and police arrested three teenagers.
In last week's gunfight, four other officers were wounded during the close-quarters gunfight in the apartment building. Robbery suspects Hassan Shakur, 32, and his wife, Amanda Anderson, 22, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Officer Michael Camacho, who was initially listed in critical condition for a gunshot wound to the neck, was upgraded to serious but guarded condition Sunday.
DiNardo and the 25-year-old Camacho were the first SWAT officers inside Shakur's apartment during the assault. Shakur and Anderson were wanted in a June 18 armed robbery in Jersey City, in which a man was shot in the stomach with the shotgun. They also were suspected of a similar robbery in South Carolina.
Shakur was buried in Jersey City Monday in a Muslim ceremony. Beforehand, his sister offered an emotional apology 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," she said. "My family is grieving the loss of my brother, because we didn't understand what was inside his head that would make him hurt people when he was such a lovely person - the one we knew."
According to autopsies released Monday on Shakur and Anderson, 19 bullets were found in Shakur's body. Anderson died from a gunshot wound to the base of the skull and was also hit in the hand, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.
DiNardo had arrested Shakur in 2002 for illegal firearms possession.
The other Jersey City officers wounded by gunfire were Frank Molina, 35, and Marc Lavelle, 43. Port Authority police officer Dennis Mitchell, 35, was also shot.
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Three other officers were treated and released for minor injuries.