The defendant in the 2019 friendly fire death of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen of Calverton is facing 33 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter charges on October 20.
Christopher Ransom, 30, formerly of Brooklyn, also pleaded guilty to robbery for holding up a mobile phone store that brought police to the Richmond Hill location and culminated in multiple shots being fired, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
“The defendant set in motion a terrible chain of events that began with a robbery and ended with a spray of bullets when Ransom pointed what appeared to be a deadly firearm toward police officers,” Katz said. “The defendant was repeatedly told to lower his weapon but did not do so. The heartbreaking result was the loss of Detective Simonsen’s life.”
According to court records, Ransom and a co-defendant arrived at the T-Mobile store in Queens, entered the business brandishing a black pistol and ordered two employees inside to surrender cash and merchandise from the back of the store in February 2019.
Ransom was still inside the location when police officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to the scene. He then pointed the gun, which appeared real, at the police officers, who discharged 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, was struck in the chest and died while he was transported in an unmarked car to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Simonsen was representing the precinct’s rank-and-file during a union meeting on the day he was killed. Mayor Bill de Blasio would later say the detective could have “called it a day” and gone home, but he rushed to the T-Mobile Store when the call came in.
Sergeant Matthew Gorman was seriously injured with a bullet wound to his left leg.
Based on the negotiated plea, Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder is also expected to sentence Ransom to five years’ post-release supervision at sentencing on November 17.
This article first appeared in the Queens Courier.