Southampton Town was bracing early this week for an expected huge turnout in Hampton Bays for the funeral of New York City detective Brian Simonsen, who died in the line of duty on February 13.
Services for Simonsen, 42, a Calverton resident, began with wakes on February 18 and 19, Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon and evening, at St. Rosalie’s Catholic Church on Montauk Highway. A funeral Mass was scheduled for Wednesday, February 20, at 10 AM at the church, with burial following at Jamesport Cemetery.
Over the weekend, Southampton Town police issued a traffic advisory, announcing delays, parking restrictions, and road closures in the area around the church during the services. On Monday, Riverhead Town police issued their own traffic advisory, announcing delays and closures Wednesday along the funeral route.
Simonsen, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD and a Riverhead High School graduate, had been investigating an unrelated crime with Sergeant Matthew Gorman, when they, and several other police units, responded to a reported robbery at a T-Mobile store in Queens.
Officers opened fire when the suspect appeared holding what turned out to be a fake gun. In the chaotic 11 seconds when police fired 42 rounds, Simonsen, who was not wearing a bulletproof vest, was struck in the chest by a bullet fired by another officer. He and Gorman, who was wounded in the leg, were rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where Simonsen was pronounced dead.
Local fire departments turned out to honor Simsonsen that evening when his body was brought home, lining the Long Island Expressway and displaying American flags.
Southampton Town police announced that on Wednesday from 8 AM to 1 PM, Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays from Route 24 to Old Riverhead Road, Squiretown Road between Montauk Highway and Old Riverhead Road, Springville Road from Montauk Highway to Good Ground Road, and Ponquogue Avenue from Montauk Highway to Good Ground Road would be closed. In addition, parking would be banned along those same roads from 6 AM to 1 PM.
Riverhead Town police said motorists should expect delays on Route 25 between County Road 105 in Riverhead to Laurel Lane in Laurel, starting at 11 AM and lasting into the early afternoon hours. Police also announced that South Jamesport Avenue in Jamesport would be closed between Route 25 and North Rail Road Avenue for about an hour and a half beginning at 11 AM.
Simonsen is survived by his wife Leanne and mother Linda. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Healing Haven Animal Foundation.