HAMPTON BAYS, N.Y. — Under gray skies early Monday evening, the casket of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen arrived at the Church of St. Rosalie.
As the casket was brought out of a hearse and carried into the church, his brothers and sisters in blue saluted the fallen hero. Cardinal Timothy Dolan was one of the mourners.
“Whenever there’s a tragedy whether it be like a brave police officer like Detective Simonsen or a firefighter or a rescue worker everybody rallies around,” Dolan said. “There’s just a real thick beautiful cohesive spirit of solidarity that everybody’s united in bolstering and propping up the wife and the family and the friends.”
In front of the church, a line of people stretched down Montauk Highway. Mourners waited in the cold to pay their respects to the man nicknamed “Smiles” by loved ones.
Behind the church, it seemed every member of the 102 Precinct was present. The 42-year-old detective spent his entire 19-year career in the 102.
Simonsen was a Long Island native and lived in Calverton.
“(He was a) proud Long Islander, proud New Yorker. He died the way he lived,” said Congressman Peter King, who represents New York’s 2nd Congressional District. “It was very moving being in there to see the feelings of his family and friends, cops, detectives of all ranks were there, just a great love for him.”
Simonsen was killed last week in a tragic case of friendly fire. Officers fired 42 shots.
He and partner Sgt. Michael Gorman were responding to a robbery at a T-Mobile store in Queens. Gorman, who survived, also attended the wake,
Burglary suspect Christopher Ransom, a career criminal, allegedly charged at officers from inside the store and pointed a fake handgun at them. Outside the church Monday, the head of the detectives' union responded to a possible motive — that the suspect Ransom wanted to be shot by officers.
“That was definitely an act of suicide by cop and the terrible irony is, he’s still alive and this hero is dead,” said Michael Palladino, executive director of the Detectives Endowment Association.
A second man, Jagger Freeman, was arraigned Sunday. Police say he acted as the lookout for Ransom.
There will be two more viewings Tuesday, 2-4 p.m. and from 6-9 p.m. The funeral for Simonsen will be held Wednesday morning at 10.