What We Know:
- NYPD In Mourning, Investigation Ongoing
- Det. Simonsen Remembered As Community Giant
- Suspected Had Troubling History
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Funeral arrangements have been announced for NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen, who made the ultimate sacrifice while responding to a robbery earlier this week in Queens.
Meanwhile, a memorial grows outside the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill, where the 42-year-old detective spent his entire 19-year career.
“He was the definition of a cop’s cop,” NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said Wednesday night. “There wasn’t a person in the 102nd Precinct that did not know Brian – from the cleaner up to the commanding officer.”
Watch: NYPD Officials Give Details On Det. Simonsen’s Death
Late Wednesday night, a police caravan transported Simonsen’s body past an FDNY tribute over to a funeral home in Mattituck – in Suffolk County on Long Island – where officers stood in salute.
The neighborhood in Calverton which Simonsen called home was shrouded in blue ribbons on Thursday, expressing the collective grief of the community. In nearby Jamesport, where he was born and raised, flags flew at half-staff.
“Probably the best guy I ever knew in my life. He was one of my best friends,” said neighbor Harry Goldbach.
Simonsen’s family includes a close-knit group of friends who supported him through tragedy as a teen, including the loss of his sister, who was hit by a car, and his father months later.
Friends say the family is grateful to the NYPD for its remarkable support, including a visit Thursday from Commissioner James O’Neill.
“They’re strong, but they’re crushed, they are devastated,” O’Neill said. “Of course, they’ll have our support. We are going to be with them forever.”
Back in Richmond Hill, the bullet-riddled T-Mobile store where Simonsen lost his life remains a crime scene.
He and his partner, Sgt. Matthew Gorman, were responding to a reported armed robbery at the store on Atlantic Ave. just after 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“He presents himself with the firearm pointed in the direction of the officers,” police said.
Once Simonsen and Gorman, dressed in plain clothes, retreated from the store, gunfire erupted. Police fired 42 rounds in 11 seconds, one bullet hitting the detective in the chest and killing him in an unfortunate case of friendly fire. The sergeant was also injured, shot in the leg.
The suspect, 27-year-old Christopher Ransom, who has 25 prior arrests, was shot eight times. He survived and was charged with murder, even though police say the weapon he was carrying was fake.
“Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent,” a family spokesperson Kevin McCall said Wednesday.
Simonsen was not wearing a bulletproof vest when he was shot.
“Brian Simonson was the greatest person that has ever lived,” former NYPD partner Terrance Legrady said. “Brian brought joy and light to the world. New York was just a small portion of that. But the world lost an – honest to god – one of the best.”
His services will start with a wake from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a funeral at 10 a.m. Wednesday. All services will be held at Saint Rosalie Roman Catholic Church in Hampton Bays.
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