RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) — An NYPD detective was killed by friendly fire during a robbery in Queens.
The shooting was reported near Atlantic Avenue and 121st Street in the Richmond Hill section around 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The incident unfolded as officers responded to an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store. Police said it turns out the suspect was carrying a fake weapon, but multiple officers fired several rounds.
Detective Brian Simonsen, 42, and Sergeant Matthew Gorman were struck by gunfire. The detective, a 19-year veteran of the force, died from injuries suffered in the shooting.
Friendly fire aside, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Simonsen’s death is due to the actions of the suspect, described as a career criminal.
“Brian was a good man, he was a good detective, just to tell you a little bit about him, I saw him this morning and whether you know it or not, he’s the elected delegate of the 102nd Precinct Detectives Squad,” said Michael Palladino with the Detectives’ Endowment Association. “What that means is his fellow detectives saw leadership skills in him.”
The detective was so dedicated he was not even required to be at work that evening.
“Because he’s the delegate in the 102 Detectives Squad and today was the delegate meeting, he was actually excused from duty,” Palladino said. “But we had this pattern going so he felt compelled to go to the delegate meeting, ignore the excusal and go to work. He was the kind of guy that led by example, not by words.”
Sergeant Gorman, an 8-year veteran of the force, was shot in the thigh and his injuries are not life-threatening.
A third member of service was also injured after returning fire, striking the suspect.
The suspect, 27-year-old Christopher Ransom, was shot and wounded. He was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.
Witnesses told Eyewitness News they heard at least a dozen shots ring out during the incident. Some nearby businesses locked their doors and waited for police to tell them it was safe.
Officers from all over the city responded to Jamaica Hospital after news of the shooting.
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) February 13, 2019
This is believed to be the first fatal shooting of an officer in the line of duty in New York City since Miosotis Familia on July 5, 2017.