‘A good guy’ and a good cop: Richmond Hill residents mourn loss of detective killed in friendly fire

A shrine in front of a bodega steps from the 102nd Precinct memorializes Det. Brian Simonsen, a regular who was struck down by friendly fire.
Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS

Ashaif al Eaimami works at 277 Deli and Grocery on Jamaica Avenue and 118th Street in Richmond Hill, just down the street from the 102nd Precinct’s stationhouse where Detective Brian Simonsen worked all 19 years of his NYPD career.

Days after Simonsen was slain by friendly fire while responding to a Richmond Hill armed robbery, al Eaimami remembered the detective as a caring police officer who involved himself in the well-being of the community. He recalled that Simonsen always treated him as though he were a friend whenever he came into the bodega regularly to buy drinks and snacks.

“He was a good guy,” Eaimami said. “Everytime, he would ask about us, how we’re doing … ‘Are things okay?'”

Simonsen was a caring cop, al Eaimami explained, calling the shooting that left the 19-year NYPD veteran dead a tragedy.

“He did so many things … He always helped, he never turned his back on a friend. That’s the kind of officer that we lost,” Simcha Waisman, the 102nd Precinct Community Council president, said. “That’s part of the job but it’s sad when it comes to haunt you at home… We’re all just taking a step back, mourning and trying to cope with this.”

Waisman said he had known Simonsen for nearly two decades.

Simonsen was at the precinct house investigating an unrelated crime pattern on Tuesday night when he and Sgt. Matt Gorman chose to respond to a call about a robbery at a T-Mobile store at 91-62 120th St. in Richmond Hill, according NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.

As the two plainclothes officers arrived on the scene, seven more patrolmen also made it on location.

The suspect, Christopher Ransom, 27, charged the officers carrying a mock firearm.

What happened next is still under investigation, but Monahan said at a Wednesday press conference that 42 rounds were fired in 11 seconds, all.

Simonsen had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest while Gorman was struck in the leg.

Simonsen and Gorman were taken to Jamaica Hospital in unmarked cars while Ransom was taken to New York-Presbyterian Queens.

NYPD was still analyzing data from body cams work by five of the officers at the scene, but is requesting any additional information on Ransom, who is in custody.

Ransom has over 25 misdemeanor arrests under his belt including an incident where he allegedly impersonated an officer of the 77th Precinct. He has since been charged by NYPD with second degree murder while charges from the Queens DA are still pending, as the arraignment has been postponed.

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