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NYPD reveal new details in Queens shooting that left veteran detective dead

Posted at 2:28 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 14:29:56-05

NEW YORK — A NYPD detective was killed by "friendly fire" during the police response to an attempted robbery in which seven officers fired 42 shots within 11 seconds, officials said Wednesday.

A witness first called 911 Tuesday night to report seeing robbery suspect Christopher Ransom putting on a mask and entering the T-Mobile store in Richmond Hill, NYPD Deputy Chief Kevin Maloney said at a news conference Wednesday.

The witness also reported Ransom was armed, according to police.

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan tweeted a photo of the suspect shortly after the news conference. While he's in custody, police are asking anyone with more information about him to contact them.

Detective Brian Simonsen and Sgt. Matthew Gorman, who were not in uniform, were around the corner for an unrelated incident when they responded to the location. Six uniformed officers arrived at about the same time.

Gorman and two uniformed officers entered the store. As they entered, the suspect allegedly came from the back office and pointed his firearm at the officers.

The suspect began to charge at the officers, causing them to exit the store, officials said. When the suspect reached the front of the store, officers outside began to fire.

Seven members of the NYPD fired 42 rounds within 11 seconds, officials said. This is when Simonsen and Gorman were shot.

Detective Simonsen was shot once in the chest and was not wearing a bulletproof vest, according to Maloney,

The suspect, who was also shot, was taken to a nearby hospital. Maloney confirmed all shooting took place outside the store, to the left and right of the main entrance.

Maloney said officers began shooting less than a minute after they first arrived.

According to Maloney, bodycam footage from five of the responding officers, as well as additional surveillance footage from inside a store, are currently under review.

Speaking on the suspect, Monahan said he believes one of Ransom's prior convictions, among many, was for impersonating a police officer.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill previously said the shootings appeared to be "an absolute tragic case of friendly fire."

Officers recovered an imitation firearm at the scene, believed to be what the suspect used in the robbery.

"Make no mistake about it, friendly fire aside, it is because of the actions of the suspect that Detective Simonsen is dead," O'Neill said Tuesday night, after the incident.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and O'Neill met with Gorman at the hospital. The sergeant, who had been with the NYPD for just under nine years, was shot once in the leg.

"His bravery was so clear, but his pain to have lost his colleague was so clear as well," de Blasio said. "We told the Simonsen family that the New York City Police Department would be there for them, the people of New York City would be there for them, for as long as they lived."

This is the second time a police officer has been shot by friendly fire in the city in the past three months.

In December, a police officer in Staten Island was also hit by friendly fire as officers responding to a domestic dispute call shot and killed a man carrying a knife.

Full NYPD news conference from Wednesday below: