Murder indictment for two Richmond Hill robbery suspects linked to heist that led to cop’s friendly fire death

Two cops were shot, including one fatally, in Richmond Hill on Feb. 12.
Photo by Robert Stridiron

The two suspects involved in last month’s armed robbery in Richmond Hill that led to the friendly fire death of an NYPD detective have been charged with murder and other crimes, prosecutors announced on March 11.

Christopher Ransom, 27, formerly of St. John’s Place in Brooklyn, and Jagger Freeman, 25, of Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, answered to charges on March 11 in a 23-count indictment linking them to the death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen and the wounding of Sergeant Matthew Gorman, who responded to a Feb. 12 at a T-Mobile cellphone store at 91-62 120 St. in Richmond Hill.

Ransom and Freeman were indicted for second-degree murder, first- and second-degree robbery, second-degree assault, third- and fourth-degree criminal possession, said Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan, on behalf of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

According to Ryan, Ransom, who was shot during the alleged robbery is still hospitalized and was arraigned this morning via video link, along with Freeman, who appeared in court, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder. Ransom is additionally charged with second-degree aggravated manslaughter.

The two men were remanded and ordered to return to court on May 15, 2019. If convicted, both men face up to 50 years to life in prison, said Ryan. 

“This was a tragic incident that should have never happened,” said Ryan. “The two defendants were allegedly on a robbery spree  – hitting cellphone stores – but this time the heist went awry and two veteran police officers were shot. One defendant allegedly served as a look-out and the other is accused of holding up the store workers with a fake handgun. The police, doing what they do every day without hesitation, responded to the scene. One of the defendants allegedly ran at and pointed his fake gun at the police and the responding officers fired. Detective Brian Simonsen was killed and Sergeant Matthew Gorman was seriously injured.”

According to Ryan, on  Feb. 12, Ransom and Freeman arrived together at the T-Mobile store and shortly after 6 p.m., Freeman walked passed the store, peered through the windows, and then communicated via cellphone 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 look out, prosecutors noted, Ransom allegedly brandished a black pistol and ordered the two employees inside the store to remove the cash from the registers and remove the iPhone and cash from the back room safes.

Shortly thereafter, authorities said, 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.

After Ransom spotted the police retreat from the store he allegedly exited with the phony weapon and pointed it at police officers, who immediately began to discharge their weapons. Simonsen, 42, and a 19-year-veteran of the NYPD, was fatally shot once in the torso. Gorman, 31, was seriously wounded as a result of being shot in his left leg.

Ransom was shot but survived, and Freeman ran from the scene the moment gunfire erupted.

Along with the Feb. 12 incident, Ryan said, the pair were also charged with robbery for hitting another T-Mobile location on Feb. 8. Ransom was also indicted for allegedly robbing from cellphone stores on Oct. 23 and Oct. 28, 2018, and another mobile store on Jan. 19, 2019.