Accomplice testifies he saw Lamont Pride load bullet before fatal cop shooting

An admitted accomplice in the fatal shooting of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski testified Tuesday that he saw Lamont Pride load a bullet into the chamber of a 9-mm handgun before a robbery that ended in Figoski's death.

During the cross-examination of Ariel Tejada, 23, of Queens, Figoski's father, Frank, 79, lay down on the courtroom benches after suffering a medical episode in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

Officials of the NYPD police union surrounded him and the courtroom was cleared. He was taken to a hospital as a precaution, Justice Alan Marrus told the jury after a 30-minute delay.

"Actually, he seems to be fine," the judge said. "Everything seems to be fine right now."

In testimony, Tejada said, "Before he gets out, he racks the gun," explaining that Pride, 28, had pulled the slide of the gun backward and released it, loading a round in the chamber from the magazine in the gun's handle before stepping out of the getaway car.

Prosecutors contend Pride deliberately shot Figoski, 47, a West Babylon resident, in the face when he found the officer blocking his way after the robbery of a drug dealer in the basement of 25 Pine St. in Brooklyn shortly after 2 a.m. on Dec. 12, 2011.

They presented evidence that the trigger pressure was much less after a round was racked, making it easier to fire a shot.

Attorneys for Pride, of North Carolina, contend the gun went off by accident.

Tejada, who said he left the Crips street gang a week or two before the robbery, also testified that the driver, Michael Velez, 22, of Queens, knew that all five men who went to the house that night intended to rob a drug dealer.

Tejada said he had been promised a reduced sentence of 18 years in prison in return for his testimony, but will be eligible for parole in 14 years. But during cross-examination, he denied that he was lying to get leniency from prosecutors.

Pride and Velez are charged with Figoski's murder and are on trial before Marrus, but with separate juries. The defendants stared impassively at Tejada, the prosecution's final witness against Pride, while he testified.

Summations in the Pride case are scheduled for Wednesday, but testimony in the Velez trial is expected to continue into next week.

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