The NYPD is looking for a second suspect in the attempted robbery of a Queens T-Mobile store that led to the friendly-fire death of Det. Brian Simonsen, the police commissioner said in a radio interview Friday morning.
“There’s somebody else that we’re looking for, I don’t want to go too deep into it,” Commissioner James O’Neill said on the “The Joe Piscopo Morning Show” on AM 970. “[NYPD Chief of Detectives] Dermot Shea and his people from the detective bureau are out there and anybody that was involved in this… will be apprehended and they’ll face justice and face consequences.”
The NYPD did not immediately release more details about the suspect.
Simonsen, 42, of Calverton, Long Island, was a 19-year veteran at the 102nd Precinct. He was fatally shot in the chest Tuesday after responding to the attempted robbery at the store on 120th Street, near Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill. When he, his sergeant, Matthew Gorman, and other officers arrived, robbery suspect Christopher Ransom charged at them with an imitation pistol, police have said.
The officers opened fire, and Simonsen, Gorman and Ransom were hit. A total of 42 shots were fired. Gorman, who was hit in the leg, was released from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Thursday.
Ransom, 27, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, first- and second-degree robbery, assault and menacing and was in stable condition at NewYork Presbyterian-Queens in Flushing. 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.
He was arraigned via video link Friday afternoon, held without bail and placed on suicide watch. The Legal Aid Society, the nonprofit representing Ransom, said the NYPD has denied access to its client.
"The NYPD had repeatedly denied Mr. Ransom’s family and his attorneys the opportunity to visit him, to counsel him, and to appraise his condition," Legal Aid said in its statement. "His defense team has also been denied access to case evidence, including recordings of the incident, while the department has leaked selective details and false information about Mr. Ransom to press, including the erroneous claim that he has a felony record."
At Ransom’s former home on St. John’s Place in Crown Heights, neighbors said on Thursday that they were shocked by his arrest. Residents said he used to live there with his mother, Gloria, and he moved away in recent months.
“I was broken. I was really broken. Shocked to my bones,” said neighbor Carmen Favourite, 70, who has known Ransom for years. “The kid that I know, I don’t know that other side or even any inclination . . . I cried yesterday. I am still shocked.”
Favourite said she saw his mother Wednesday, “She said, ‘I’m not doing well.’”