A 53-year-old man fell out of a tree and died while trying to rescue a cat in the Bronx late Sunday night or early Monday morning, the police said.
The man, identified by his family as Marcial Rios-Aguilar, apparently threw a rope over a branch at Allerton Avenue and Bronx Park East, the police said. Bronx Park East runs along Bronx Park, the police said.
When he got a few branches up, a police spokeswoman said, the branch he was on gave way. Officers on patrol found his body around 3 a.m., the spokeswoman said. The cat was still in the tree.
Mr. Rios-Aguilar lived on the other side of the park, on Morris Avenue in the Fordham Manor neighborhood, and made a living collecting scrap metal, neighbors there said.
He lived with his niece and her husband and children in a fourth-floor walk-up. He had no children of his own, neighbors said.
“He was a very nice person,” said Mildred Rodriguez, an upstairs neighbor. “He kept to himself, but if you needed him, he was there for you.”
Mr. Rios-Aguilar would mind the building and feed the superintendent’s dog when he was out of town, Ms. Rodriguez said. He would often take his niece’s children to school. “He was like a grandfather to those children,” she said.
The cat was retrieved from the tree around 12:30 p.m., witnesses said. The cat, a year-old tiger-striped male who appears to be in good health, was nicknamed Smokey by firefighters and taken to the main city shelter in East Harlem, said Richard P. Gentles, a spokesman for Animal Care and Control of N.Y.C.Allerton ave, Animal Care and Control, Bronx Neighborhood News, Bronx News, Bronx Park East, Bronx Parks, Bronx People, Bronx Tragedy, FDNY, Firefighters, Marcial Rios-Aguilar, Morris Avenue, neighborhood, NYPD, The Bronx