New York

Chemicals next to Brooklyn man’s corpse harmless, say cops

Chemicals next to a Brooklyn man found dead in his home were harmless, said police on Friday.

The decomposing body of John Ruggero, 75, was discovered in a seated position in his East New York home on Wednesday. It is believed that he died as much as a week earlier in the apartment on 101st Ave. near Drew Street.

The city Health Department performed an air test, which was negative for toxic chemicals. Further testing showed the chemicals were harmless, said police.

When officers and other first responders arrived at Ruggero’s home Wednesday, they found reason to be scared.

Police were called about 12:52 p.m. that day because Ruggero, a divorced military veteran who once ran a beloved knish business, had not been heard from recently, and a foul odor had permeated the restaurant below his apartment.

In the apartment, police found Ruggero’s corpse along test tubes and chemical containers, cops said. Some of the test tubes and containers had biohazard stickers, and officers also found “written notes that really mean nothing to us,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

“There were also diagrams, like gibberish written out. He was screwing around with the test-tube kits, but they were not dangerous,” Essig said.

The city medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine Ruggero’s cause of death.

Ruggero had beaten cancer in the past, but it had recently come back, said neighbor Maria Tirado, 70, who said shortly after his body was discovered that he “was feeling kind of down.”

“Wonderful person, always greeting everybody,” Tirado said. “Everybody knows him. Always donating. So caring.”

The downstairs restaurant’s owner noticed the foul smell, which he said got worse over a period of several days. He called cops after he realized he hadn’t seen Ruggero for about the past 10 days..

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