NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The five suspects charged with murder in the killing of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski were taken to Supreme Court in Brooklyn and arraigned Tuesday.
The alleged gunman, Lamont Pride, appeared in court while being shackled and didn’t speak as he faced the first-degree murder charge. His co-defendants — Kevin Santos, Ariel Tejada, Nelson Moralez and Michael Velez, who were all located and arrested before 9 a.m. Tuesday — are facing second-degree murder charges.
LISTEN:1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon Reports From The Arraignment
Dozens of somber cops assembled at the station house before heading to court for the arraignment of the suspects. Officers also saluted arriving family members, including the two college-age daughters of fallen Officer Figoski.
Officer Figoski was shot and killed while he and his partner, Glenn Estrada, were responding as backup to a robbery in progress at an apartment around 2:15 a.m. Monday at 25 Pine St. in Cypress Hill.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria With More On The Alleged Gunman
PBA president Pat Lynch addressed the capture of all five murder suspects, saying “Officer Figoski’s handcuffs were on these perps that walked into that building today.”
“They worked in conjunction because [they] were evil, and they hid and then they jumped, and they pulled the trigger that took a good man,” he said.
A crowd also gathered Tuesday night to honor Figoski in the neighborhood where he was killed. More than 100 people gathered at 25 Pine Street in Cypress Hills, where residents joined community leaders and fellow officers. Those at the vigil prayed, lit candles and released balloons in memory of the slain officer.
Figoski’s accused killer, the 27-year-old Pride, was arrested Monday.
Police offered a full account Tuesday of how the fatal violence unfolded. Four of the suspects burst into the basement apartment hoping to rob a drug dealer, who they knocked to the ground.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports
Cops pulled up quickly as Pride and Santos hid in a storage room. As the first two responders confronted Tejada and Morales, who claimed to be helping the man on the floor, Santos and Pride tried to flee — only to run into Officer Figoski and his partner.
Police said Pride shot Figoski once in the face and the cop never had a chance.
“I think it was very, very quick. The officer did not have his weapon out and didn’t have a chance to take his weapon out,” Commissioner Kelly said.
“This was a cold-blooded killer and his crew, that set out to rob a drug den and decided they are going to be stopped by no one and they’ll kill a New York City police officer. It’s devastating to everyone that wears the uniform,” Lynch told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
Figoski’s partner, Estrada, immediately stopped struggling with a second suspect and chased Pride for several blocks before arresting him.
Police said the robbery victim was a drug dealer with six prior arrests and was targeted because the suspects figured he had money in his apartment.
“They believe that the tenant in the basement apartment of 25 Pine St. was a marijuana dealer. They planned to steal any cash and marijuana that he had. They met in an apartment in Queens at 1 a.m., they planned the robbery and afterwards drove to carry it out,” Kelly said.
A jammed semi-automatic pistol and a black ski mask, allegedly belonging to Pride, were found underneath a vehicle nearby.
Pride was arrested on a drug charge in Coney Island on Nov. 3, but was released due to confusion over his extradition back to North Carolina for allegedly shooting a man there.
WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With Ray Kelly
Sources told CBS 2 that an extradition warrant was officially upgraded days later on Nov. 8, but by that time, Pride was already back out on the streets. On Nov. 15, he failed to show up for a court appearance.
The 47-year-old Figoski was the father of four daughters, including two in high school and two in college.
Officer Figoski spent his entire 22-year career at Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct. He made more than 200 arrest, including nearly half for felonies, and earned 12 medals, including eight for exceptional police duty.
Figoski’s wake will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Boyd Funeral Home and his funeral will be Monday at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church in Babylon.
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