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Appearance matters for alleged shooter of NYPD officer

By Sadef Ali Kully

The case against Demetrius Blackwell, the accused gunman in the fatal shooting of NYPD Detective Brian Moore, has begun the discovery process for evidence related to the May incident in Queens Village, prosecutors said last week in Queens Criminal Court.

In June, Blackwell was charged with murder, attempted murder, aggravated murder, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen goods after a grand jury indictment, according to court records.

The indictment contends Blackwell shot and killed 25-year-old Moore during a routine stop May 2 on the patrol shift. Court records indicated Moore suspected Blackwell of carrying a weapon and attempted to stop and ask routine questions but before Moore could ask questions, allegedly Blackwell started shooting at both officers while they were still in the patrol car. Moore’s partner Officer Eric Jansen was unharmed.

Blackwell pleaded not guilty to all charges in the 12-count indictment.

David Bart, Blackwell’s court-appointed attorney, said he would be arguing that Blackwell suffers from a mental disease. Family members claim Blackwell has severe epilepsy and had undergone brain surgery.

Prosecutors have handed over audio and video evidence to Bart and will start the exchange on medical reports and psychiatric evaluations ordered by the court.

Bart said Blackwell did not want to show up in court in his orange prison uniform and requested that he be allowed to change into civilian clothes.

“The last time we were here for arraignment, there were pictures taken,” Bart said. “He likes to present himself in court as a human being, a civilian, not as someone who is an obvious jailbird.”

Judge Joseph Zayas said he would reserve judgment on the issue after he discussed possible security concerns with the city’s Department of Corrections.

If convicted, Blackwell could face a life sentence in prison. His next court date is scheduled in November.

Prosecutors said Blackwell fled the scene and couple of hours later was arrested near the corner of 212th Street and 104th Road. Police said they found the gun with two live rounds and three expended rounds in the backyard of a home near the scene of the incident.

Moore, who was shot in the head, died May 4 at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective first grade.

Police officers, including cops from the 105th Precinct, and Police Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch were present during the court hearing. Lynch said the defense was prolonging the process with Blackwell’s medical claims.

“[It] doesn’t make sense with the rest of his criminal life,” Lynch said. “Let’s get the process to trial, let’s get the evidence and from the evidence let the jury decide.”

For Moore’s family, Lynch said it was a tough period, particularly for his father, retired NYPD Sgt. Raymond Moore.

“ I don’t think there are any good days when you lose your son so violently. He is a police officer, so he knows the process, so he knows the nonsense they are trying to pull.”

Moore, who made over 150 arrests during his 5-year career, came from a long line of NYPD police officers in the family in addition to his father.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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