STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — A Staten Island police sergeant who was a young civilian in March 2003 revealed Thursday she identified a key suspect in the assassination of NYPD Detectives Rodney J. Andrews and James Nemorin.
Sergeant Candice Negron spoke to PIX11 News on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of the detectives’ murders on March 10, 2003, at Hannah Street in Staten Island.
Negron said she was heading to work in Manhattan on the ferry the morning after the murders, on March 11, 2003, when she did a ‘double take’ after seeing photos of the “wanted” suspects in the newspaper.
“I recall high heels passing me,” Negron told PIX11, “and knees knocking together. And the person sat across from me, and I looked up, and I saw the face that was in the paper. And it was a man dressed as a woman.”
Negron said she noticed the face of Omar Green behind red lipstick and a blonde wig, wearing a tight-fitting black dress.
“I’m looking at the paper, I’m looking at him, and I’m saying, ‘THIS IS THE GUY IN THE PAPERS,'” Negron said.
Negron was 23 years old then and recalled her eyes locked with Green’s.
She remembered quietly getting up from her seat on the lower level of the ferry and seeking out a police officer on the top deck.
Negron’s father was a retired NYPD detective, and she felt a duty to seek out a cop.
“And I told him, ‘the guy from the newspaper who assassinated the police officers, he’s on the boat!’ I recall he said, ‘Are you sure?’ and I told him yes. I grabbed his arm,” Negron said.
Negron said she emphasized she was sure it was the suspect.
“I said either that’s him or that’s the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen,” Negron recalled.
Negron said the police officer finally went down the steps to the lower level and she didn’t know what happened until later.
She called her father to see if he could find out about any activity on the ferry.
“He made a couple of phone calls and called me back and said, ‘Candice, that was him!'” Negron recalled.
The NYPD arrested multiple people in connection with the murders, including Ronnell Wilson, the 20-year-old shooter.
Detectives Andrews and Nemorin were doing dangerous undercover work in the Firearms Investigation Division and had already bought a .357 Magnum from Omar Green.
Wilson was supposed to meet them with a Tech-9 submachine gun. The undercovers were carrying $1,200 for the purchase.
But the gun trafficking suspects had already figured out Andrews and Nemorin were undercovers and took them to a desolate location.
Wilson showed up with a gun but was really planning something else.
“He came to the location with the firearm,” recalled Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detective’s Endowment Association. “He got in the back seat of the vehicle and shot both detectives at ‘point blank’ range in the car and dragged them out to die on the street.”
DiGiacamo noted that the last twenty years had been filled with sorrow for the NYPD and double executions.
“We had Detectives Ramos and Liu in 2014; we had Detectives Mora and Rivera in 2022,” DiGiacomo observed.
The DEA President said he’s pushed for a Special Firearms Prosecutor in New York City who could monitor gun trafficking cases.
DiGiacomo was among the people who encouraged Negron to pursue a career in the NYPD.
She joined in 2008 and was promoted to a police detective, just like her father. Negron was promoted again to NYPD Sergeant and does patrol work near schools on Staten Island.
Last year, when Hannah Street was renamed in honor of Andrews and Nemorin, she finally met their families.
“I was just so proud of her that she had the courage to do this for our families,” Detective MaryAnn Andrews, the widow of Rodney Andrews, said. “It was a nice feeling to meet her. I didn’t know anything about her.”
Rodney J. Andrews was a former Navy Seal who had two sons with MaryAnn Andrews.
She remembered, “He was a very confident man, very intelligent. He had book smarts and people smarts.”
MaryAnn Andrews recalled that her young sons, who were just 10 and 11 in 2003, found out about their father’s murder on television.
There will be a memorial Mass in Lincoln Center for Detectives Andrews and Nemorin on Friday, the 20th Anniversary.
Nemorin was a Haitian immigrant who had three young children with his wife.
Andrews used to help his sons with math over the phone when he had to work.
Negron said she would never forget her role in bringing one of their killers to justice.
“Out of everything in my life, outside of the birth of my children, this is one of the things I’m most proud of,” Negron said.