Hundreds of mourners returned to St. Rosalie Roman Catholic Church in Hampton Bays Tuesday for the second wake for Det. Brian Simonsen, who was killed by friendly fire at the scene of an attempted robbery in Queens last Tuesday.
“The show of support that’s here today is to show the family that, yes, you can get through it, though it’s difficult,” said Patricia Ann McDonald, whose husband, NYPD Det. Steven McDonald, died in 2017. “We’re all here for each other.”
A funeral Mass for Simonsen, who was known “Smiles,” will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the church, followed by burial at the Jamesport Cemetery.
Other attendees on Tuesday included NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as representatives from the NYPD and FDNY. A line to get into the church snaked around the side of the building and down Montauk Highway, with heaters lining the path to keep mourners warm in the frigid temperatures.
“He was a leader, he was a mentor, he could be a bit of a prankster at times but he was someone that we could always depend upon and that everybody in that squad was happy to work with,” NYPD Deputy Chief Joseph Kenny, commanding officer of the Queens South detective bureau, said. “The best compliment you could give a New York City police detective would be to say ‘I wouldn’t want that guy looking for me’ and that was Brian in a nutshell.”
Simonsen, 42, of Calverton, Long Island, was among the NYPD officers who responded to the attempted robbery at a T-Mobile store on 120th Street near Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill. When they arrived, suspect Christopher Ransom charged at them with an imitation pistol, police have said.
Officers fired a total of 42 shots, fatally hitting Simonsen in the chest, striking a sergeant in the leg and hitting Ransom multiple times. The sergeant, Matthew Gorman, was released from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on Thursday.
Ransom, 27, was arraigned Friday on murder and other charges via video link from NewYork–Presbyterian/Queens Hospital in Flushing and ordered held without bail. He was described as a “career criminal,” who has previously been arrested for multiple larcenies, a violation of an order of protection and criminal impersonation of a police officer.
Ransom’s lawyers have said he was attempting to commit suicide by cop.
Over the weekend, police arrested Jagger Freeman, who is accused of acting as a lookout during the attempted robbery. Freeman, 25, of Queens, was arraigned on murder and other charges on Sunday and held without bail.
Simonsen is survived by his wife, Leanne, and his mother, Linda. His sister, Melissa, was fatally struck by a car in 1992 when she was 13, and his father, Paul, died less than six months later.
Simonsen’s family has asked that any donations, in lieu of flowers, go to the Healing Haven Animal Foundation.