Photo: Courtesy of Social Media
In what’s being called a “tragic accident” by police, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD was accidently shot and killed last night by what appears to be friendly fire.
Detective Brian Simonsen and Sgt. Matthew Gorman of the 102 Precinct were responding to reports of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile cell phone store at Atlantic Ave. and 121st St. in Richmond Hill at around 6:15 p.m. After arriving at the scene and spotting the suspect in the store holding what appeared to be a gun, Detective Simonsen and Sgt. Gorman drew their weapons and opened fire. Both officers retreated from the store and found themselves struck in a hail of bullets from fellow officers responding to the scene, confirmed Police Commissioner James O’Neil at a press conference Tuesday night
Simonsen was struck in the chest and Sgt. Gorman was struck once in the leg.
While fighting back tears, Commissioner O’Neil told reporters, “Simonsen and Gorman opened fire on the suspect, and as they retreated from the store, they were struck by bullets from cops outside.”
“We lost a very good man,” Mayor Bill de Blasio added at the press conference.
Commissioner O’Neil pointed the blame to Christopher Ransom of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. “Make no mistake about it — friendly fire aside, it is because of the actions of the suspect that Detective Simonsen is dead,”
Ransom was wounded in the gunfire and taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. The 27-year-old suspect had a long criminal rap sheet and was identified by the police as a career criminal.
Simonsen, in the meantime, leaves behind a wife and two children.
His cousin, Joe Simonsen, took to twitter last and wrote: “He was my cousin and a hero of mine growing up. Proud to say he still is. I will always take you with me where I go and will always tell your story….”