NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police detective was killed by friendly fire Tuesday night while responding to a report of an armed robbery at a cell phone store, authorities said.
Detective Brian Simonsen was shot at a T-Mobile store in the Richmond Hill section of Queens about 6 p.m. Tuesday, police said. The 42-year-old detective was a 19-year veteran.
Another officer, identified by his union as Sgt. Matthew Gorman, was shot in the leg and was in stable condition.
A suspect was shot multiple times and was listed in stable condition, police said. An imitation firearm was recovered.
Arwindern Singh, who lives across the street from the store, said he heard about 20 shots go off and thought they were firecrackers.
When he went outside, he said, “all of a sudden there were cops all over.”
The shooting started about two minutes after the officers were directed to go to the store, according to dramatic dispatch audio. A 911 caller outside the store reported seeing the suspect — dressed in all black and carrying a duffel bag — take two employees to a back room at gunpoint, according to the recording.
"No sirens, guys," the dispatcher warns.
The gunfire blew out the store's doors, showering the sidewalk with glass. Scores of police officers streamed to the scene, which was roped off with crime tape. Some walked together in a line, searching for evidence.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted condolences.
“We are forever indebted to the brave NYPD detective who was killed in Queens tonight and the sergeant who was wounded,” Schumer, a Democrat, wrote. “May God bless them and their families.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James said it was “a painful night for all of New York City.”
“Every day our men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect us, and tonight we are truly heartbroken to lose one of our own,” James, a Democrat, said in a tweet.
The last New York City police officer killed in the line of duty was a 12-year veteran and mother of three who was gunned down in 2017 while sitting in a police vehicle.
Officer Miosotis Familia, 48, was writing in her notebook when ex-convict Alexander Bonds strode up and shot her through a window. Bonds, who had railed about police and prison officers in a Facebook video months earlier, was fatally shot by officers soon after the attack.