(NEW YORK) — Grieving officers of the New York Police Department will come together Wednesday at a funeral for its own detective killed by friendly fire.
Detective Brian Simonsen, 42, was shot dead while responding to a robbery at a Queens T-Mobile store on Feb. 12.
Simonsen was an 18-year veteran assigned to the 102nd Precinct in Queens.
Simonsen was his precinct’s union delegate and attended a union meeting on the day of his death, authorities said. He decided to respond to the call in Queens even though he didn’t have to, authorities said.
In a chaotic scene at the T-Mobile store that unfolded within seconds, seven officers shot 42 rounds, authorities said. Another responding officer was shot and injured.
Despite what he called a “tragic case of friendly fire,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill squarely blamed the detective’s death on the actions of the suspected robber, described by O’Neill as a “career criminal.”
Two suspects are in custody.
“Detective Brian Simonsen represented what it means to be a great cop — to go beyond the call of duty,” Chief Terence Monahan of the NYPD tweeted Wednesday. “Today, we mourn the loss of a hero who went in harm’s way & celebrate a life dedicated to service. We’ll forever be indebted to Brian & his family. The NYPD will #NeverForget.”
Detective Brian Simonsen represented what it means to be a great cop — to go beyond the call of duty. Today, we mourn the loss of a hero who went in harm’s way & celebrate a life dedicated to service. We’ll forever be indebted to Brian & his family. The NYPD will #NeverForget. pic.twitter.com/s5ixEDP1Zo
— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) February 20, 2019
Simonsen, of Calverton, New York, was considered a “great investigator” who was “held in very high esteem by his coworkers,” O’Neill said last week. “This is heartbreaking.”
O’Neill tweeted Wednesday, “Today we say our final goodbyes to Det. Brian Simonsen.”
“Whether it was as a police academy recruit (in this 2000 photo) or as a seasoned investigator, Brian was always the one you wanted next to you when decisions mattered the most,” he said.
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