Robbery suspect held on murder charge after NYPD friendly fire death
A man accused of attempting to rob a New York cell phone store where a police detective was killed in a friendly fire incident will face a second-degree murder charge, police said Wednesday night.
Christopher Ransom, 27, is accused of murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, assault, second-degree aggravated manslaughter and menacing, according to an update from the New York Police Department’s press information group.
Ransom was wounded in the shooting Tuesday night and an “imitation pistol” was recovered, police said.
Police said he is in custody, but didn’t say whether he was still hospitalized.
An investigation will determine who shot the detective, but authorities earlier put the blame on Ransom for putting officers in jeopardy.
“Make no mistake about it, friendly fire aside, it’s because of the actions of the suspect that Detective [Brian] Simonsen is dead,” Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said Tuesday night.
Officials said seven police officers fired a total of 42 times outside the Queens store after they responded to an armed robbery call.
Simonsen was hit once in the chest, said Terence Monahan, chief of the department. Simonsen’s partner, Sgt. Matthew Gorman, was hit in the leg and hospitalized.
“He was the definition of a cop’s cop,” Monahan said of Simonsen, a 19-year-veteran. “There wasn’t a person in the 102nd Precinct who didn’t know Brian. From the cleaner up to the commanding officer, everyone in that precinct knew Brian well.”
Force Investigation Division Deputy Chief Kevin Maloney said officers train for different shooting situations but in reality everything happens very quickly.
“You’re reacting within seconds, and you’re in fear for your life, your adrenaline is high,” he said.
The shooting happened just after 6 p.m.
Simonsen and Gorman, who were working an unrelated case, went to the store, where they met several uniformed officers. Gorman and two patrol officers went in and encountered Ransom coming from a back office with what looked like a gun, police said. The officers went back outside and when the suspect ran out the front door there was gunfire for 11 seconds, authorities said.
Simonsen, 42, did not have on a ballistic vest, Maloney said.
Gorman is not “the least bit concerned about his own injury,” Monahan told reporters. The sergeant is in stable condition.
Audio recorded from police radio during the incident suggests a chaotic scene. In a span of seconds, numerous gunshots can be heard as several officers call in and yell “Shots fired!”
The injured sergeant eventually radios in, “Be advised, I’m shot,” before relaying his location.
Before Tuesday, eight US police officers had been killed by firearms while on duty in 2019, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website.