The NYPD is dealing with the loss of one of their own after two officers were shot, one fatally, while responding to an attempted robbery in Queens Tuesday night.
Officers were responding to a robbery at a T-Mobile store in the Richmond Hill neighborhood at around 6:30 p.m.
The suspect, a 27-year-old man with an extensive criminal record, was armed with an imitation firearm, O'Neill said. News 12 is told he is from the border of Crown Heights and Brownsville and has eight prior arrests. He was shot multiple times and taken to hospital. He is in stable condition, O'Neill said. The officer was killed in what appears to be "an absolute tragic case of friendly fire", NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said in a press conference late Tuesday. Simonson and the sergeant were in the area working on an unrelated case when they heard the call come over the radio.
"They know it's a moment where they cannot hesitate, where even a moment of hesitation can mean a life is lost", De Blasio said. Simonsen was shot while retreating out of the store, the commissioner said. "The shock that they are feeling was so painful to see".
That's when they say they saw a man fitting the description from the 911 calls coming from the back pointing what appeared to be a handgun. The officers discharged their weapons as the suspect advanced toward them.
The second detective was shot in one leg and listed as stable, police said.
A massive police presence formed at Atlantic Avenue and 120th Street in Richmond Hill, according to videos posted to Citizen app. Simonsen's body. State police, FDNY firefighters, as well as bridge and tunnel officers all lined the highway to show respect.
The detective, identified as Brian Simonsen of the of the 102nd Precinct's detective squad, was apparently hit by so-called friendly fire when several officers opened fire on an armed suspect, according to Commissioner James O'Neill.
He was wanted by police in connection with a January 19 robbery at another cellphone store in Queens.
In 2009, Simonsen investigated the death of an 11-month old boy who drowned in a bucket of water at an unlicensed daycare while the woman running it was passed out on NyQuil.
The squad had a meeting Tuesday morning and officers say because of that meeting, Simonsen was excused from being at work Tuesday night. "Our hearts go out to them", the PBA, a union, tweeted.
Mike Palladino, the president of the Detective Endowment Association, also praised Simonsen for his bravery and noted that he had given his life on a day that he could have been at home with his family.