In a grim rite, officers from across the New York City Police Department stood and saluted Tuesday night outside Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in a cold drizzle as the remains of a detective, believed to have been caught in the crosshairs of fellow law enforcement, were driven past in an ambulance. It happened as other officers were also arriving on the scene. At first, the front of the store appeared empty, he said.
Commissioner James O'Neill confirmed the shooting on Twitter, writing: 'An on-duty NYPD officer has been shot in Queens during what appears to be an armed robbery'. Officials said Wednesday afternoon that 42 shots were fired in 11 seconds between the officers. "Simonsen is dead", O'Neill said.
"Shots fired! Shots fired!" an officer is heard yelling on the dispatch audio moments later, over a barrage of gunshots that blew out the store's doors, showering the sidewalk with glass. Bullet holes pocked frosted windows decorated with the T-Mobile logo.
Simonsen, who called Long Island home, leaves behind his wife.
Simonsen was shot in the chest and declared dead at Jamaica Hospital, Police Commissioner James O'Neill informed reporters. "His mom, who has suffered so much". When they didn't see anyone inside they went into the store.
Simonsen should have been off Tuesday for a union meeting, but he opted to go to work so he could continue tracking a string of recent robberies, Detectives' Endowment Association president Michael Palladino said.
Another officer, Sgt. Matthew Gorman, was shot in the leg. A passerby stopped and drove him to the hospital in his vehicle.
Arwin Singh, a 31-year-old construction contractor who lives across from the T-Mobile store, told the outlet: 'I looked out and the cops were running into [the store] to get them. Multiple reports identify him as Christopher Ransom of Brooklyn.
Police say a suspect was shot multiple times and is listed in stable condition. "It's insane. The store has been robbed before but nothing as bad as this". Despite reports that there may be another suspect, O'Neill said he worked alone. He lost his life fighting crime & keeping safe all the people we serve.
Another witness told CBS2's Valerie Castro that he saw one of the officers wounded in the deadly gun battle. Simonsen earlier Tuesday. An elected delegate with the 102nd detective squad, Det. Simonsen would start his shift by picking up water or soda and stayed to chat with workers. "That bravery and that resolve is something that we all need to understand".
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed flags on all state government buildings to fly at half staff in honor of Simonsen. "This tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder of the risks the courageous men and women in law enforcement face every day to keep us safe". The sympathies of all New Yorkers are with his family & colleagues.
Brian Simonsen is the first NY police officer to die in the line of duty since July 2017.