NYPD detective killed while responding to robbery was struck by friendly fire

Sergio Conner
February 13, 2019

A New York City police detective from Riverhead Town was shot and killed while responding to the scene of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store in Queens Tuesday evening, police officials said.

"Friendly fire aside, it's because of the actions of the suspect that Simonsen is dead", the police commissioner said.

Brian Simonsen, 42 years old and a 19-year-veteran of the department, was killed, police said.

Another officer was shot in the leg and is in stable condition. A passerby stopped and drove him to the hospital in his vehicle. He is in stable condition, according to the commissioner.

NYPD officials said that a suspect was shot multiple times and was critically wounded. Despite reports that there may be another suspect, O'Neill said he worked alone.

The suspect, a career criminal, was taken into custody and reported to be in critical condition, according to the Post.

"No sirens, guys", a dispatcher warns.

O'Neill said as the suspect advanced toward them, the officers discharged their weapons and retreated out of the store.

Officers at first did not see anyone inside through the window of the store.

The department has been urging New Yorkers to avoid the area in Richmond Hill due to a heavy police presence in response to the shooting.

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"Shots fired! Shots fired!" an officer is heard yelling on the dispatch audio over a barrage of gunshots. Officers are going door-to-door looking for security cameras that may have captured what happened.

"That was when Detective Simonsen was shot", the commissioner said.

When he went outside, he said "all of a sudden there were cops all over".

The gunfire blew out the store's doors, showering the sidewalk with glass. Scores of police officers streamed to the scene, which was roped off with crime tape.

'It was heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking'.

"Every day our men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect us, and tonight we are truly heartbroken to lose one of our own", James, a Democrat, said in a tweet. "His mom, who has suffered so much".

'We lost a very good man, ' Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the hero detective. The officer had planned to retire soon.

A second officer, Sgt. Matthew Gorman, was struck by friendly fire, and reportedly expected to survive.

De Blasio on Tuesday night praised officers for rushing into unsafe situations and taking decisive action when lives are threatened.

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