New York Detective Killed By "Friendly Fire" While Responding To Robbery

The scene in Richmond Hill Queens where at least one New York Police Department officer was shot Tuesday night Feb. 12 2019

The NYPD detective killed while responding to a robbery in Queens was struck by friendly fire, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at a press conference Tuesday night.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said it was "a painful night for all of New York City".

"It was heartbreaking to see", NYC mayor Bill de Blasio said.

O'Neill said a sergeant, who has been on the force for 8 and a half years, was also wounded and is in stable condition.

It happened just after 6 p.m. Tuesday at a cellphone store in the Richmond Hill section of Queens.

"They did not hesitate". The condition of the wounded officer wasn't immediately known. "Through the windows of the store the officers did not see anyone inside". As they entered, someone emerged from the back fitting the description of the suspect who pointed what appeared to be a handgun. Simonsen was shot while retreating out of the store, the commissioner said. "At this hour, I will tell you that this appears to be an absolute tragic case of friendly fire". The detective shot in the chest was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was shot multiple times and is listed in stable condition. He then blamed the suspected robber for the incident. O'Neill said that Simonsen was likely killed by friendly fire.

"We are forever indebted to the courageous NYPD detective who was killed in Queens tonight and the sergeant who was wounded", Schumer wrote. He was taken to the hospital by a passerby in a civilian vehicle.

The suspect's firearm recovered at the scene was fake, O'Neill said. Despite reports that there may be another suspect, O'Neill said he worked alone. "We will be there for his family and his fellow officers tonight, tomorrow and every day after that".

"Sources said the detective and sergeant, both of whom were assigned to the local 102nd Precinct Detective Squad, responded after the perpetrator walked into the T-Mobile store with a gun and a duffle bag and took two people hostage and brought them into a back room".

Simonsen should've 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.

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