HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (PIX11) -- Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector, Corey Pegues, was a cop with secrets and now that he’s spilling them, he’s not so sure he’s ready for the media fury.
Pegues’ Mercedes SUV was parked in his driveway, when PIX11 News knocked on his door in Hempstead, Long Island on Tuesday.
But Pegues didn’t answer and didn’t leave his house until we pulled our news truck down the block.
That’s when the 45-year old retired commander, who once wore a pressed uniform and fitted suits, emerged wearing a black baseball cap pulled low over his forehead.
He quickly pulled the Mercedes out of his driveway and sped away, as PIX11 tried to question him.
Pegues made headlines this week when audio from an August podcast on the Combat Jack show was made public.
During the interview, Pegues revealed he sold crack cocaine as a teen in Queens in the 1980’s and once tried to kill a rival drug dealer.
He also said he was childhood pals with one of the men who executed rookie Police Officer Edward Byrne, on February 26, 1988.
“My man, Dave McClary, was one of the people who killed him,” Pegues said during the podcast.
McClary was convicted of pumping five shots, at close range, into the head of the 22-year old Officer Byrne as he sat in a patrol car, guarding the home of a drug witness on Inwood Street in South Jamaica, Queens. His assassination was a rallying cry for the NYPD to take back a crack-ravaged city, block by block.
The news that Pegues’ was once friends with McClary has caused a firestorm among the NYPD’s rank and file.
“For twenty years, he hid the fact that he was bosom buddies with a cop killer,” PBA President Patrick Lynch fumed to PIX11.
But Pegues, who retired with a $135,000 a year disability pension, doesn’t see it that way.
He claims the book he’s writing is meant to teach young people to stay away from the drug trade and thug life.
“Being a father and a family man, I’d first like to say that my heart goes out to the Byrne family,” Pegues said in the beginning of a statement released by his publicist.
“In 1988, Edward died a hero doing the job he loved, and left us much too soon. As a child, I had many friends from my neighborhood, one of whom was named David McClary. David and I chose very different paths in life and went our separate ways in 1987, when I enlisted in the US Army. I was in basic training at the time this crime was committed and have not had any contact with him since. I do not in any way condone the act of assassinating a police officer and find what David did to be both despicable and deplorable.”
As Pegues continued with his statement, he said that he’s a mentor and community activist, and he was telling his story in an effort “to be relatable to the youth that are currently living their lives the way I did (prior to turning 18 and joining the military), and to show them there is another way.”
But Lynch didn’t buy the statement and quoted another part of the podcast. “When he came back to the neighborhood,” Lynch said, “He also said, ‘I was in the Army, I was still going out with my friends, pulling robberies.’”
At one point in the podcast, Pegues talked about his intention to kill a rival dealer.
“And I pulled the trigger—right in his chest! It don’t go off,” Pegues related to the interviewer.
Pegues insisted he turned away from a life of crime, after his son and daughter were born. His 21-year-old daughter is now a rookie police officer with the NYPD.
“I am grateful to the NYPD for the many opportunities that were awarded to me, based on my merits and professionalism over the years. Although I am retired, I will continue to stand on the side of righteousness for people of all ethnicities and work to motivate and inspire the youth and the community as a whole.”
When Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, was asked about Pegues on Monday, he said that he had just learned about his admissions and would review the time he spent in the NYPD.
“He’s evidently trying to promote a book or movie deal,” Bratton said.