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5 Indicted On Murder Charges In Officer Peter Figoski’s Death

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Detective Peter Figoski (credit: Handout)

Detective Peter Figoski (credit: Handout)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Five suspects have been indicted on murder charges in the death of Officer Peter Figoski who was shot in the face and killed during a botched robbery in Brooklyn.

Though the suspects were not required to appear in court they showed up Friday and were met by a sea of blue.

When the five suspects were arraigned earlier this week, more than 140 NYPD officers packed the courtroom and stared down the accused gunman, Lamont Pride, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.

Police officers said they will attend every hearing related to the case.

“Each one of them, each one of them is equally as guilty of as the next in the killing of a New York City Police officer,” PBA President Pat Lynch said.

Guzman also met with John Giangrasso, a cop who has been Figoski’s friend for years. Giangrasso is the one helping the family get ready for the funeral and he is the one who is alone with his own thoughts of his friend. He had harsh words for the defense.

“Oh you know,” Giangrasso said asked how he was holding up in the face of the tragedy. “When you hear attorneys use words in court and try to sidetrack things, saying they are outraged. I’ll show them outraged.”

The suspects remain in custody without bail. They are due back in court next Tuesday.

Although investigators said Pride is the one who shot and killed Figoski, Pride’s accomplices – Nelson Moralez, Ariel Tejada, Kevin Santos and Michael Velez – are also being charged with murder.

Police said they were involved in the home invasion drug robbery in Cypress Hills that left Figoski dead early Monday morning.

Velez, who is accused of being the getaway driver, told the Daily News that Pride threatened him with a gun and agreed to drive the suspects without any knowledge of the intended robbery.

Friday’s hearing comes amid harsh criticism for Brooklyn Judge Evelyn LaPorte who released Pride on bail last month even though he was wanted in North Carolina in connection with a shooting.

“This judge is mandated by law to set bail based on a bench warrant history and ties to another state, both of which she had violated her duty and, unfortunately, we saw the tragic results,” City Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. said.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes backs LaPorte’s decision.

“I’m not going to criticize her because it’s easy to do that. I think overall she’s a very good judge,” Hynes said.

Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “There’s not a lot of work to do to protect the public. It was not done plain and simple.”

But on his weekly radio show Friday morning, Bloomberg appeared to be changing his tone.

“It’s easy to second guess everybody and we have a habit in this country of someone has to be blamed and if it turns out your judgement was wrong then we try to villify you,” the mayor said.

Meanwhile, donations are pouring in from across the country to help Figoski’s children.

More than $200,000 have been collected for his four daughters, including $80,000 from the Silver Shield Foundation for the girls’ college tuition.

Along with education funds, the foundation offers support services to families of police officers, firefighters and state troopers killed in the line of duty.

Figoski’s wake will be held Saturday and Sunday at St. Joseph’s Church in Babylon on Long Island.

His funeral will be held Monday.

Donations to the Police Foundation Peter Figoski Scholarship Fund can be made online at www.nycpolicefoundation.org or mailed to:

New York City Police Foundation
Attention Peter Figoski Fund
555 5th Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017

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