By Forum Staff
A borough grand jury has indicted two men for the line-of-duty death of City Police Det. Brian Simonsen and the wounding of Sergeant Matthew Gorman, who were responding to a robbery in a cell phone store last month when they were mistakenly hit by other officers also responding to the chaotic scene, Chief Assistant District Attorney Jack Ryan, on behalf of Queens DA Richard Brown, announced on Monday.
Christopher Ransom, 27, formerly of St. John’s Place in Brooklyn, and Jagger Freeman, 25, of Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, were arraigned Monday morning on a 23-count indictment charging them with second-degree murder, first- and second-degree robbery, second-degree assault, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Ransom is additionally charged with second-degree aggravated manslaughter. Ransom, who was shot during the alleged robbery, is still in the hospital, Ryan noted.
Justice Kenneth Holder remanded Ransom and Freeman and ordered them to return to court on May 15.
According to the charges, on Tuesday, Feb. 12, the two defendants arrived together at the T-Mobile store on 120th Street and Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill. Shortly after 6 p.m., Freeman walked pass the store, peered through the windows and then communicated via cell phone with Ransom. Moments later, Ransom—wearing a dark hoodie slung over his head with a mask covering part of his face—entered the store. While Freeman was allegedly posted outside as a lookout, Ransom is alleged to have brandished a black pistol and ordered the two employees inside the store to remove the cash from the registers and remove the iPhones and cash from the back room safes. Shortly thereafter, according to charging documents, Ransom allegedly exited the back room and re-entered the main store area—still holding what appeared to be a gun—as members of the City Police Department entered the location.
Continuing, according to the charges, after Ransom spotted the cops retreat from the store, he allegedly exited with the phony weapon in-hand and pointed it at police officers, who immediately began to discharge their weapons.
Detective Simonsen, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, was fatally shot once in the torso. He was 42 years old. Sergeant Matthew Gorman, 31, was seriously wounded as a result of being shot in his left leg. Ransom was shot, but survived. Freeman ran from the scene the moment gunfire erupted.
“This was a tragic incident that should have never happened,” Ryan said.
According to the charges, in addition to the two men being indicted in the Feb. 12 hold-up at the T-Mobile store where the two police officers were shot, the pair is also charged with robbery for hitting another T-Mobile location on Feb. 8. Ransom is also indicted for allegedly robbing from cell phone stores on Oct. 23 and Oct. 28, 2018, and another mobile phone shop on Jan. 19, 2019.
If convicted, both men face up to 50 years to life in prison.