RICHMOND HILL, Queens — Detective Brian Simonsen's nickname was Smiles.
The 42-year-old police officer spent his entire 19-year career in the 102nd precinct and it seemed like all the neighborhoods he served came out to honor his memory at a Sunday prayer vigil.
“We wanted the communities of Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Woodhaven and Kew Gardens to show up,” Sam Esposito, president of Ozone Park Residents Block Association, told PIX11 News. “When we need them, we are quick to call police for help. Now is our time to show up for them."
Simonsen was killed by friendly fire Tuesday while responding to a reported robbery in progress at T-mobile store in Richmond Hill.
Jagger Freeman, 25, was arraigned on murder, robbery, assault and weapons charges Sunday. Police say he acted as the lookout as Christopher Ransom, also charged with murder, allegedly held up the store with a fake gun.
Simonsen's partner was also injured in a tragic case of friendly fire as responding officers fired 42 rounds during the 11-second confrontation.
“We have to focus on the fact that those police officers were called there that day because we had a perp with a gun robbing and holding folks hostage” Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told PIX11 News. “No matter where the round came from, that mope caused that death and we should never ever forget this."
Since the police detective’s death, the Ozone Park Residents Block Association has been showing their support for all the members of the 102, which they say has really helped their grieving.
“What the community did for us is extraordinary,” Courtney Nilan, NYPD Deputy Inspector, told PIX11 News. “The flowers, The food, the prayers really mean a lot. Brian was a great man and a great police officer and detective."