In a tragic case of friendly fire, an NYPD detective was shot and killed during a furious gun battle Tuesday night as a robber inside a Queens cell phone store, wielding what turned out to be a fake gun, walked menacingly toward the veteran cop, authorities said.
The death of Det. Brian Simonsen is the first gunshot line-of-duty fatality since 2017. Sgt. Matthew Gorman of the 102 Precinct was wounded in the hip.
Police were responding to reports of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile cell phone store at Atlantic Ave. and 121st St. in Richmond Hill at around 6:14 p.m.
Simonsen, a near-19-year veteran detective, and Gorman entered the store, and were confronted by a suspect wielding what appeared to be a gun, Commissioner James O’Neil said at a press conference Tuesday night.
Simonsen and Gorman opened fire on the suspect, and as they backed out of the T-Mobile store, they were struck by bullets from cops outside, O’Neill said.