NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A manhunt continued Monday night for the second suspect involved in the deadly shooting of a New York City police officer earlier in the morning. New details also emerged suggesting that the alleged gunman should have been in jail weeks ago.
Investigators said Officer Peter Figoski, 47, was shot in the face while responding to a gunpoint robbery around 2:15 a.m. Monday at a basement apartment on Pine Street in Cypress Hills. After being rushed to Jamaica Hospital, Figoski died a few hours later.
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Police said Figoski’s partner, Glenn Estrada, chased the alleged gunman, identified as 27-year-old Lamont Pride, of Coney Island, and arrested him. As of Monday night, authorities had still not finalized charges against Pride.
Multiple reports say that Pride was released by a judge on $2,500 bail following a drug arrest in Coney Island last month, even though the judge knew of the outstanding warrant.
It turns out the suspected gunman got out due to court red tape. Extradition was limited to only North Carolina and by the time the state upgraded the warrant nationwide, Pride had been released, had skipped his arraignment in New York and was on the loose, CBS 2′ s Derricke Dennis reported.
A second man, described as a Hispanic male in his mid-20s wearing a grey, hooded sweatshirt and white pants, is still at large.
Officials would only describe him as a person of interest and released a surveillance video — taken from a nearby deli — showing an individual they would like to speak with.
Meanwhile, police said Pride is a career criminal and has five unsealed prior arrests, including several for drug possession and sale. He was wanted on an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault in North Carolina.
Police spent hours Monday scouring the neighborhood and searching for the gunman’s accomplice, CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported. Authorities also said they were talking to witnesses at the scene.
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The organization COP SHOT, which stands for Citizens Outraged at Police Being Shot, is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the second suspect.
The two suspects were apparently hiding in a side room as the officers arrived and were trying to flee through the rear of the building. They hid in a side room as first responders walked past them, authorities said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that is when Pride ran out the front door, saw Figoski and shot him once in the face.
The bullet traveled to the back of his neck and severed his spinal cord. Figoski was rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:17 a.m.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera with stunned neighbors
Estrada sustained a shoulder injury after chasing Pride to the corner of Chestnut and Fulton streets, tackling him and taking him into custody.
“I want to commend Officer Estrada, who had the presence of mind to focus on the man with the gun, and the courage to chase him down and capture him,” Kelly said.
The 25-year-old tenant of the basement apartment said Pride and the other suspect knocked on his door and claimed to be police officers before demanding money and jewelry. Police said the suspects stole a watch and $770 cash.
Police are investigating whether some of the stolen cash was drug money.
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Police said the tenant was knocked down and struck in the head with a firearm. He is being treated at Brookdale Hospital for head injuries.
A 9mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol was recovered under a parked car on Chestnut Street, Commissioner Kelly said.
“It appears that one round had been discharged from the weapon,” Kelly said in a statement.
Police also found a revolver stashed in a microwave at the apartment. Police believe it belongs to the second suspect.
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Figoski, a 22-year veteran of the force, had more than 200 arrests. He was awarded 12 medals, including eight for exceptional police duty.
Figoski could have retired two years ago with a full pension, but chose to stay on the force. On Monday, hundreds of his brothers in blue formed a somber wall of grief at Jamaica Hospital as city leaders struggled to find the right words, CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown reported.
“I’m the father of two myself and having to tell kids of any age what happened to their father or mother — without a doubt — is the hardest thing any mayor ever has to do,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Shawn Johnston, a fellow NYPD officer, was shaken to the core by Figoski’s death.
“He did his job and it’s the ultimate sacrifice for doing the job,” Johnston said.
PBA president Patrick J. Lynch issued a statement saying, “Police Officer Peter Figoski spent his entire career patrolling the streets of East New York and serving its citizens with respect and dignity. Now it is time for all of his fellow officers and the people he dedicated his life to protecting to return that respect by keeping the Figoski family in their thoughts and prayers during these difficult times.”
Figoski leaves behind four daughters – Carolyn, 16, and Corrine, 14, who are in high school, and Christine, 20, and Caitlyn, 18, who are in college — and comes from a family of police officers.
News of his death shocked Figoski’s neighbors in West Babylon, where he was known as a great family man and devoted father.
“He was a wonderful man, always taking care of his yard after a long day of work and helping out if I needed anything,” Helen Krebs said.
“It’s horrible anytime, but especially this time of the year. Every Christmas…this has to be a reminder,” neighbor Joe DiPietro said.
Figoski is the second officer to die in the line of duty this year. In March, Alain Schaberger was killed responding to a domestic violence call in Brooklyn. He fell nine feet off a stoop and broke his neck.
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