Manhunt ends for suspect in Nassau Officer Arthur Lopez's murder

Nassau County officials describe a manhunt for the gunman who killed Nassau police Officer Arthur Lopez during a traffic stop near Queens and then a motorist during a carjacking on the Cross Island Parkway. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (Oct. 23, 2012)

An ex-convict who gunned down a decorated Nassau cop after a pursuit Tuesday morning and then carjacked a motorist before shooting him to death was finally captured Tuesday night after a harrowing daylong manhunt along the Nassau-Queens border, authorities said.

Darrell Fuller, 33, was being held Tuesday night, suspected of killing Nassau police Officer Arthur Lopez of Babylon Village -- an eight-year member of the department -- and Brooklyn resident Raymond Facey, 58.

Lopez, who would have turned 30 on Nov. 1, was shot in the chest after approaching Fuller near the corner of 241st Street and Jamaica Avenue shortly after 11 a.m. Lopez was not wearing his bulletproof vest, police said.

Facey was shot in the head by Fuller near the Cross Island Parkway, police said.

Lopez's death was the second of a Nassau County police officer in less than a week. A shaken Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Fuller, who records show served five years in prison for attempted murder before being paroled in 2010, should not have been free.

"One can only wonder how an animal like this was walking the streets given his rap sheet," Mangano said after Fuller's arrest. "This murderer should hear the screams of his [Lopez's] mother to understand what he did today."

Mangano, his voice cracking, described Lopez as "a true hero" who left behind a sister, his mother and father.

In 2010, Lopez and Officer Robert Blum were recognized by the Town of Hempstead for coaxing a distraught man from attempting suicide.

This past March, Lopez snared a pit bull that menaced a woman overnight in Roosevelt.

He "lost his life to a cold-blooded murderer today," Mangano said.

Police found Fuller in Queens near 111th Avenue and 173rd Street.

A 911 caller had reported shots fired in the area, and police discovered Fuller in a car with what was described by police as a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was in guarded condition Tuesday night at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, authorities said, and has yet to be charged.

Fuller's arrest ended a furious, multiagency manhunt that snarled roadways on the Nassau-Queens border at midday and heightened security at nearby schools. Nassau police, the NYPD and federal law enforcement agencies were all involved in the search.

After the shooting, Lopez was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where he was pronounced dead. Outside the emergency room, scores of police cars lined the road and officers went in and out.

Lopez's killing was the fourth line-of-duty death suffered by Nassau police in the last 20 months. It came just a day after a funeral was held for Joseph Olivieri, a Nassau highway patrolman struck by an SUV last week while at an accident scene on the Long Island Expressway.

Lopez attended the funeral.

According to officials' accounts:

Lopez and his partner, both with the department's Emergency Services Unit, saw a silver-colored Honda leave the scene of an accident at Northern Boulevard and the Cross Island Parkway at about 11 a.m.

With Lopez in the passenger seat, his partner, Clarence Hudson, 51, took off after the Honda, which Fuller drove south on the parkway. The car had blown-out tires and was on its rims. It left the parkway at Jamaica Avenue, headed west and turned left at 241st Street and came to a stop.

Lopez approached the Honda and exchanged words with Fuller. Fuller got out of the car and shot Lopez. Hudson, who joined the department in 1995, rushed to help Lopez.

"I heard a boom," said Andy Riveras, 27, who works at a gas station across the street from where the shooting took place. "It was a shot . . . I ran . . . there was a body. . . . There was another cop giving him CPR. The officer's eyeglasses were right next to him, next to the pool of blood."

Police said Fuller got back in the Honda, which was later found abandoned on the parkway. He approached Facey, who had been driving a vehicle on the parkway near Belmont Park. He pulled Facey from the car at gunpoint, shot him and left him on the ground, police said.

Fuller stole Facey's vehicle and fled, officials said. It was later found in Queens Village.

Fuller did time in state prison following a conviction for an attempted murder in October 2004 in Queens. In that case, he was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon and assault.

He pleaded guilty in December 2005 in that case and got 5 years in state prison. He had already been in custody since his arrest on Oct. 20, 2004.

Fuller was paroled in 2010, state records show. He violated his parole in Nassau County following felony drug sale and possession charges in March 2010 and was reincarcerated that August. He was released in May 2011.

Tuesday night, Nassau PBA president James Carver said Lopez's death was especially hard for officers to take, coming a week after Olivieri was killed.

"To say that this is a difficult time would be an understatement," Carver said. "We are still reeling from the loss of our brother five days ago."

Lopez's neighbors were also hit hard by the killing of a young officer they described as quiet, kind and generous.

"Oh, God. It breaks my heart," said neighbor Narrie Carter, 89, who most Christmases would get a gift of apples and apple cider from Lopez. "He was such a nice fella."

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