2006_02_shotcop.jpgEric Hernandez, the off-duty police officer who was taunted and beaten by a group of men at a Bronx White Castle last month, only to be shot multiple times by another police officer who thought he may have been a troublemaker as well, died yesterday after his family took him off life support. Hernandez had been in a coma for over a week, undergoing many surgeries including the partial amputation of a leg; tests showed little brain activity. Hernandez had been on the force for two years and will be given a full inspector's funeral. He would have been 25 years old later this month.

The police and DA's office are looking into elevating the charges against the men who took part in the beating. And an autopsy will be conducted to see if the beating affected Hernandez's ability to hear police officer Alfredo Toro's commands to drop his gun. The NYPD is also reiterating that Toro acted properly (mention of Hernandez's possible drunken state has been less emphasized lately).

Photograph from Newsday