Photos Courtesy of Michael Appleton/
Mayoral Photography Office
By Michael V. Cusenza
The overcast sky last Wednesday cast a gray pall on the somber sea of dress-blue uniforms on Montauk Highway below as thousands of fellow Finest joined the family and friends of Det. Brian Simonsen to bid farewell to the hero cop at his funeral at the Church of St. Rosalie in Hampton Bays, Long Island.
Simonsen, 42, was shot and killed by friendly fire on Tuesday, Feb. 12, after responding to calls of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store on Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill.
“Today, New York City is heartbroken. We have a tremendous sense of loss in our community—a city so large, and yet we’re all united right now in profound grief because we have lost such a good man,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in remarks delivered during the service. “With every passing day all of us have come to know Brian, come to understand how exceptional he truly was, how much goodness, how much heart, how special a person who we miss so deeply now. Our hearts go out to the Simonsen family. We can only begin to imagine your pain, but we feel at one with you and we all should feel at one with the men and women in uniform.”
Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill posthumously promoted Simonsen to Detective First Grade as he eulogized the South Queens cop who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“To the men and women of the 1-0-2, and all members of the NYPD who bravely go out every day with the sole mission of fighting crime and keeping people safe—and it does take courage—thank you for your dedication,” he said. “Please don’t ever forget why you chose to become police officers. Always remember who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Continue to be proud of that and never forget that Brian lived to protect all New Yorkers, and his legacy protects us still.”