The New York Police Department (NYPD) detective killed by friendly fire while responding to a robbery-in-progress was laid to rest on February 20.
Brian Simonsen was posthumously promoted to detective first grade as family, friends, mourners, police officers, firefighters, and first responders from across the country packed a mile-long stretch of road outside Roman Catholic Church of St. Rosalie in Hampton Bays, Long Island to say goodbye to the fallen officer.
Detective Simonsen, of the NYPD’s 102nd Precinct, was killed in the line of duty on February 12th, when he responded to a robbery in a T-Mobile store in Richmond Hill, Queens. Simonsen and other responding officers fired at the robbery suspect, who was holding a fake gun. During the gunfire, Simonsen was hit in the chest and his partner, Sergeant Matthew Gorman, was struck in the leg. Simonsen died of his wounds, while Gorman is on the road to recovery and attended the funeral in a wheelchair.
Detective Simonsen worked his entire 18-year career in the 102nd Precinct, tallying over 600 arrests.
Both the police commissioner and the mayor spoke at Simonsen’s funeral. “He was exceedingly good at his job,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill. “Brian knew how to talk to people, but more important, he knew how to listen,” O’Neill said. “Brian was the one you were grateful to see arrive on the scene.”
“It was never just a job for him,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Two suspects in the robbery have been charged with murder in the death of Simonsen: 27-year-old Christopher Ransom, who’s accused of pointing a fake pistol at employees while demanding cash and phones, and Jagger Freeman, 25, accused of being Ransom’s lookout.
Both men face additional charges including robbery and assault.