Suspects In Shooting Death Of Det. Peter Figoski Plead Not Guilty
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The five men accused of murder in the shooting death of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon.
The defendants made their pleas through their attorneys and did not speak, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported. They will be held without bail until their next court appearance on January 4.
A grand jury voted to indict Lamont Pride, the alleged gunman in the shooting, on first-degree murder charges.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa Reports
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced Tuesday that four other defendants are charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
Pride is the one who allegedly pulled the trigger, killing the 22-year veteran of the force. His alleged accomplices are Kevin Santos, 30, Ariel Tejada, 22, Nelson Moralez, 27 and Michael Velez, 21.
All five men were formally arraigned on Tuesday afternoon. Hynes said there will be no plea bargains in this case and all five defendants will go to trial. The arraignment lasted about 4 minutes and was witnessed by dozens of cops sitting shoulder to shoulder, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
PBA President Pat Lynch said the loss of Officer Figoski is a wound that will never fully heal.
“We will be here in this court every time these cretins show up,” he said.
Before the men return to court in January, the district attorney has agreed to turn over all the evidence, proof of guilt that prosecutors call overwhelming.
Eight days after the fatal shooting, police are still trying to find a key piece of evidence – the bullet that took Figoski’s life. Crime scene investigators are still looking for the bullet so they can match it to the gun Pride allegedly tossed as he ran.
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The indictments come a day after Figoski was laid to rest. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that Figoski had been promoted to detective posthumously.
Photos: Det. Figoski’s Funeral
The New York Times reported Monday that Pride got into a scuffle with correction officers at Rikers Island after refusing to cooperate a routine search. Pride then reportedly struggled with officers, elbowing two of them in the face.
Authorities allege the group was in the middle of a home invasion drug robbery when they were interrupted by Figoski.
Velez is accused of being the getaway driver. He told the Daily News last week that Pride threatened him with a gun, adding that he agreed to drive the suspects without any knowledge of the robbery plot.
“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,” Pat Lynch said last week.
More than 15,000 mourners turned out Monday to honor their fallen comrade. Officers from the NYPD, Nassau and Suffolk departments, state police from New York and New Jersey, and officers from upstate New York communities stood at attention and saluted Figoski’s casket.
The slain officer’s four daughters stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Figoski’s colleagues as the hearse arrived at St. Joseph’s Church in Babylon and his body was carried inside.
The family has received an outpouring of support from the community. More than $600,000 has been donated to the Peter Figoski scholarship fund. The money will help pay for the education of Figoski’s daughters Christine, Caitlyn, Caroline and Corrine.
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