Quantcast

Jamaica man sentenced in friendly-fire death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen

Jamaica man sentenced to prison for death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Jagger Freeman on Thursday, July 7, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for his role in the friendly-fire killing of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen in February 2019, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced.

Freeman, 28, of Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, was convicted at trial of murder, robbery, assault and other crimes in the 2019 cellphone store robbery that went horribly wrong and resulted in the fatal shooting of Simonsen. A second NYPD officer was also wounded when uniformed police responded to the scene and multiple rounds were fired.

A jury rendered its verdict on June 13.

Jamaica man sentenced to prison for death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen
Jagger Freeman was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for his role in the 2019 fatal-fire death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen in Richmond Hill. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

Freeman’s co-defendant, Christopher Ransom, formerly of St. John’s Place in Brooklyn, pleaded guilty in October to aggravated manslaughter and robbery and is currently serving 33 years in prison. Under New York state’s felony murder charge, if a death occurs during a felony, any participant is responsible for the resulting deaths.

According to court records, on the night of Feb. 12, 2019, Ransom and Freeman arrived at the T-Mobile store on 120th Street in Richmond Hill. Ransom entered the store brandishing a black pistol and ordered two employees to surrender cash and merchandise from the back room of the store. Ransom was still inside the store when police from the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill arrived at the scene. Ransom pointed his gun, which appeared real, at the police, who fired their weapons in response.

An NYPD investigation found that seven of the officers fired 42 shots from both sides of the store. Simonsen, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, who spent his entire career at the 102nd Precinct, was struck in the chest and died while he was transported in an unmarked car to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Jamaica man sentenced to prison for death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen
Photo by Robert Stridiron

Simonsen had been representing his precinct’s rank-and-file during a union meeting on the day he was killed. Mayor Bill de Blasio later said the detective could have “called it a day” and gone home, but he rushed to the T-Mobile store when the call came in.

A second officer, Sergeant Matthew Gorman was seriously injured with a bullet wound to his left leg and Ransom was struck eight times in the crossfire.

Freeman was found guilty of murder in the second degree, robbery in the first and second degree, assault in the second degree and grand larceny in the third and fourth degree. Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder, who presided at trial, sentenced Freeman to 30 years to life in prison, to be followed by five years of post-release supervision.

Jamaica man sentenced to prison for death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen
NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen (QNS/File)

“The defendant orchestrated a string of robberies, the last of which involved an imitation gun that led to the tragic loss of Det. Brian Simonsen and the wounding of Sergeant Matthew Gorman,” Katz said. “The jury found the defendant guilty of murder and he will now serve a long time in prison as punishment for his criminal actions. We continue to express our condolences to Det. Simonsen’s family and fellow service members.”

The sentencing includes the conviction for robbery and grand larceny related to Freeman’s role in a separate cellphone store robbery on Feb. 8, 2019.

Jamaica man sentenced to prison for death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen
Simonsen’s wife Leanne speaks before the sentencing was handed down. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

Simonsen was just 42 years old and had spent his entire 19-year career assigned to the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill.

“Det. Brian Simonsen was a beloved cop and DEA Delegate who was highly dedicated to the community he proudly served and his fellow Finest he represented,” Detectives Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said. “If not for the planned robbery carried out by Jagger Freeman, Brian would be with us today. We said justice would be served — and we hope today’s sentence of 30 years to life will ensure Freeman is never set free from prison where he belongs. The DEA commends Justice Holder for ensuring a rightful punishment.”

More from Around New York