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Darrell Fuller, who killed Nassau cop and parkway driver, dies in prison, officials say

Darrell Fuller leaves the Nassau County Courthouse in

Darrell Fuller leaves the Nassau County Courthouse in September 2014 after being sentenced to a life in prison for the killing of a Nassau County police officer and a Brooklyn man.   Credit: Howard Schnapp

A cop killer who went to prison for life after his conviction in the 2012 murders of Nassau Police Officer Arthur Lopez and a motorist from Brooklyn is dead after spending about seven years behind bars for the slayings.

Darrell Fuller, 40, died Dec. 9 while in custody at maximum-security Elmira Correctional Facility, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Fuller’s death remains under investigation but “is not considered to be suspicious,” State Police spokesman Beau Duffy said Monday.

Authorities pronounced Fuller dead about 7:25 a.m. on Dec. 9 after he received emergency medical care at the prison, a state corrections spokeswoman said Monday. 

Investigators still are awaiting the official cause of death from Fuller’s autopsy, according to authorities. Sources said he was found unresponsive in his cell.

It became public during Fuller's trial that he was a dialysis patient.

Former Nassau Judge Jerald Carter called Fuller “a menace to society” while sentencing the Queens man to life in prison without parole after a Nassau jury in 2014 convicted him in the murders of Lopez and motorist Raymond Facey, 58, of Brooklyn.

Charo Lopez, the slain officer’s sister, said learning of Fuller’s death made for an emotional day, punctuated by a feeling of relief, tears and calls to family members.

“It brought back the entire trial, the murders, losing my brother, the burial, everything," she said Monday. "But as a family, we’re thankful that we don’t have to go through anything else.”

Lopez, 48, added that Fuller’s death meant her family didn’t have to be afraid that he ever would be set free on appeal.

But she said she wasn't glad another person was dead.

“I believe in God and I believe in my morals," Lopez said. "He was wrong, yes. But like Mahatma Gandhi said, an eye for an eye makes the world blind.”

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder reacted to Fuller’s death by saying that department members would continue to keep the families of Lopez and Facey "in our thoughts and prayers."

"As far as Darrell Fuller goes, I will not give him a second thought, as he showed no regard for life. Good riddance," he said.

Abbigail Jones, one of Facey's daughters, said Fuller's death provided a feeling of "completion" because he could never go free and hurt anyone else.

But Jones, 29, of Pennsylvania, said nothing would lessen her family's pain over the loss of a patriarch who would never meet some of the grandchildren born after his death.

"We don't revel in Fuller's death but are thankful for the legacy my Dad left ... He lives on through the many lives he touched," she added.

Fuller fired a bullet into Lopez’s heart on Oct. 23, 2012, during a traffic stop at 241st Street and Jamaica Avenue at the Nassau-Queens border.

It happened after Lopez and his partner pursued Fuller when he fled from a crash shortly after leaving a hospital where he’d had dialysis.

Lopez, then 29 and part of the police force’s Emergency Service Unit, approached the hit-and-run suspect with his Taser out, the trial showed. But Fuller shot Lopez before fleeing a short distance on the Cross Island Parkway.

The gunman then shot and carjacked Facey, a construction worker and Jamaican immigrant who had pulled over to speak to Jones' twin sister on his cellphone about a vacation.

Prosecutors said during Fuller’s trial that he fled the crash while on parole and with a loaded gun — an offense that would have sent him back to prison after an attempted murder conviction.

Fuller orchestrated his own shooting to try to look like a third victim while on the run after shooting Lopez and Facey, his trial showed.

Last year an appellate court upheld Fuller’s convictions after Garden City Park attorney Alan Katz argued in part that prosecutors hadn’t established a proper chain of custody for DNA blood evidence. Katz declined to comment on Fuller's death.

“Our thoughts are with the families of Detective Arthur Lopez and Raymond Facey,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said Monday.

Nassau Police Benevolent Association President James McDermott said that “after a few years of a life behind bars, Darrell Fuller must now account for his actions before a different judge.”

He added that police union members would "forever remember the courage" of Lopez and hoped Fuller's death brought the victims' relatives "much-overdue closure."

Lopez, who lived in Babylon Village, was an eight-year police veteran posthumously promoted to detective. A bridge that spans the Cross Island Parkway near where he was shot was renamed for him in 2015. 

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