Borough Remembers Det. Brian Simonsen

Borough Remembers Det. Brian Simonsen

By Michael V. Cusenza

On Monday, Queens celebrated the life and monumental sacrifice of Det. Brian Simonsen, who was shot and killed on Feb. 12, 2019, by friendly fire in the line of duty.

“We will never forget the sacrifice made by Det. Simonsen. Despite his passing, his legacy continues to live on in the Detective Brian Simonsen Memorial Foundation—an organization I am honored to work with, that does so much to improve the communities that Det. Simonsen served,” City Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) said on Monday.

Simonsen spent his entire 19-year-career in the 102nd Precinct.

Simonsen was shot and killed when responding to a report of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store on 120th Street and Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill. He was 42.

According to court documents, on that Tuesday, the two men indicted in Simonsen’s death—Christopher Ransom and Jagger Freeman—arrived together at the T-Mobile. Shortly after 6 p.m., Freeman walked past 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 NYPD entered the location.

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.

In October of 2021, Ransom pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and robbery and was sentenced to 33 years in prison. He had 25 prior arrests, including one for impersonating a police officer.

On July 7, 2022, in Queens Supreme Court, Jagger Freeman received 30 years to life for his role in Simonsen’s death. Freeman was convicted of murder, robbery, assault, and other charges for his role in the deadly shooting. His sentencing includes the conviction for robbery in the second degree and grand larceny in the third degree related to Freeman’s participation in a separate cell phone store robbery on Feb. 8, 2019.

In 2022, the New York Police Department rolled out a new protective vest for the Detective Bureau so that the lighter weight, less bulky vest could be worn more easily under a business suit. Named after Simonsen, the vests were developed by the Detectives’ Endowment Association, Inc. with seed money from the union, and were chiefly financed by the New York City Police Foundation.

On June 15, 2019, a street was renamed in the Town of Riverhead as Det. Brian Simonsen Way. On Oct. 8, 2022, another corner at the intersection of 118th Street and Jamaica Avenue was named in his honor.



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