Errick Allen in shackles is transferred from the Nassau County...

Errick Allen in shackles is transferred from the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola Feb. 27. Credit: Jeff Bachner

A former NYPD officer was battling for his life when he fatally shot his longtime friend during a rage-filled confrontation in Farmingdale in May 2020, a lawyer for the rookie cop told a Nassau County jury Tuesday in Mineola.

“Errick Allen acted reasonably, he had a reasonable fear that deadly physical force was about to be used against him,” defense attorney Anthony La Pinta said after delivering closing arguments in the trial of Allen, 30, of North Massapequa. Allen is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and menacing in the death of childhood buddy Christopher Curro, who was 24.

“A classic case of self-defense,” added La Pinta, who told the jury the forensic evidence showed that Curro was the aggressor in the fight that ended with his death and had grabbed for the officer’s Glock during a brief scuffle.

Prosecutor Jessica Cepriano countered, telling the jury that Allen was enraged by an exchange of insulting and confrontational text messages with Curro when he confronted his estranged friend on Langdon Road in Farmingdale on May 12, 2020. Allen didn’t intend to kill the unarmed Curro when he brought his service weapon to the faceoff, Cepriano said, but intentionally shot his friend when he realized the clash would likely lead to the end of his three-month NYPD career.

“He brought his gun because he was ready to unholster it and use it,” Cepriano told the jury, which is scheduled to begin deliberations Wednesday after a five-week trial. She told the jury that the forensic evidence showed that Allen had the upper hand in the fight and shot his longtime pal out of anger.

Cepriano is a prosecutor with the New York Attorney General’s Office, which has been designated by law to oversee all police-involved fatalities.

Allen and Curro grew up on the same block and were inseparable as students at Albany Avenue Elementary school in North Massapequa, La Pinta said in his opening statement, but their relationship “drifted a bit” as they went through Howitt Middle School and then Farmingdale High School. They both attended Farmingdale State College, but Curro dropped out, sparking tension between him and his parents.

Curro’s parents, upset over his chronic use of cannabis and angry that he wasn’t attending school and working enough hours, forced him to move out of their home in November 2019, La Pinta said. Curro wanted to cut all ties with his family, according to testimony at the trial. He worked part-time for Allen’s father and stayed with Allen’s family for a period, but moved to an apartment in West Babylon and got a job at a pizzeria, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down.

Curro was so angry with his parents that he tried to poison his father’s milk, salsa and grated cheese with ammonia or bleach, La Pinta said. 

“It demonstrates the anger that Chris Curro had towards his family,” La Pinta said.

Curro’s family kept in touch with Allen, who enrolled in the NYPD academy in the fall of 2019. Allen communicated frequently with Curro’s family, who were concerned about his well-being during the pandemic. The relationship between Curro and Allen became strained after Curro learned that Allen had been sharing his text messages with Curro’s family.

Following a flurry of confrontational and insulting text messages, the two agreed to meet on Langdon Road on the evening of May 12, 2020. Allen fired a round in Curro's direction almost immediately. La Pinta said during his closing that Curro had charged at Allen and Allen fired a warning shot from his NYPD gun. 

Cepriano told the jury that Allen realized his brief NYPD career was in serious jeopardy because he would have to answer for the missing bullet. Curro whipped out his cellphone and recorded part of the confrontation. “Are you shooting at me?” Curro asked.

Allen said yes, essentially confessing to behavior that could cost him his job. Allen tried to get in his car and leave but Curro blocked his way and called 911 to report the shooting, Cepriano said.

“You are not getting away,” the prosecutor said Curro must have been thinking.

The two got into a fight that was not captured on video. Cepriano said Allen was trying to flee, but La Pinta told the jury that Curro was the aggressor and tried to reach for the cop’s gun.

“In my opinion, this is as classic as a self-defense case as you have,” La Pinta said after court adjourned for the day. “Because if he would have reached that gun, given the history of this encounter, he would be the one on trial for murder right now.”

Cepriano repeatedly dismissed claims of self-defense, showing the jury photos of the abrasions Allen suffered on his neck, head and face during the scuffle next to a photo of Curro, blood oozing from the four bullet wounds in his head and neck. Photos of the deceased caused many in the gallery to gasp, and several people left the courtroom.

Cepriano said Curro's wounds showed these were “well-aimed shots” that indicate Allen had control of the Glock and was not scuffling with Curro when he fired. Curro was also shot in the arm during the encounter. The injuries Allen suffered, Cepriano told the jury, did not justify the fatal shooting.

“This is not a self-defense scene,” Cepriano said. “This is an execution.”

A former NYPD officer was battling for his life when he fatally shot his longtime friend during a rage-filled confrontation in Farmingdale in May 2020, a lawyer for the rookie cop told a Nassau County jury Tuesday in Mineola.

“Errick Allen acted reasonably, he had a reasonable fear that deadly physical force was about to be used against him,” defense attorney Anthony La Pinta said after delivering closing arguments in the trial of Allen, 30, of North Massapequa. Allen is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and menacing in the death of childhood buddy Christopher Curro, who was 24.

“A classic case of self-defense,” added La Pinta, who told the jury the forensic evidence showed that Curro was the aggressor in the fight that ended with his death and had grabbed for the officer’s Glock during a brief scuffle.

Prosecutor Jessica Cepriano countered, telling the jury that Allen was enraged by an exchange of insulting and confrontational text messages with Curro when he confronted his estranged friend on Langdon Road in Farmingdale on May 12, 2020. Allen didn’t intend to kill the unarmed Curro when he brought his service weapon to the faceoff, Cepriano said, but intentionally shot his friend when he realized the clash would likely lead to the end of his three-month NYPD career.

      WHAT TO KNOW

  • A former NYPD officer fatally shot his longtime friend in self-defense during a confrontation in Farmingdale in May 2020, the officer's lawyer told a Nassau County jury Tuesday in Mineola.
  • Errick Allen, of North Massapequa is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and menacing in the death of childhood buddy Christopher Curro, who was 24.
  • Prosecutor Jessica Cepriano told the jury that Allen was enraged by an exchange of text messages with Curro and intentionally shot his friend.x

“He brought his gun because he was ready to unholster it and use it,” Cepriano told the jury, which is scheduled to begin deliberations Wednesday after a five-week trial. She told the jury that the forensic evidence showed that Allen had the upper hand in the fight and shot his longtime pal out of anger.

Cepriano is a prosecutor with the New York Attorney General’s Office, which has been designated by law to oversee all police-involved fatalities.

Allen and Curro grew up on the same block and were inseparable as students at Albany Avenue Elementary school in North Massapequa, La Pinta said in his opening statement, but their relationship “drifted a bit” as they went through Howitt Middle School and then Farmingdale High School. They both attended Farmingdale State College, but Curro dropped out, sparking tension between him and his parents.

Curro’s parents, upset over his chronic use of cannabis and angry that he wasn’t attending school and working enough hours, forced him to move out of their home in November 2019, La Pinta said. Curro wanted to cut all ties with his family, according to testimony at the trial. He worked part-time for Allen’s father and stayed with Allen’s family for a period, but moved to an apartment in West Babylon and got a job at a pizzeria, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down.

Curro was so angry with his parents that he tried to poison his father’s milk, salsa and grated cheese with ammonia or bleach, La Pinta said. 

“It demonstrates the anger that Chris Curro had towards his family,” La Pinta said.

Curro’s family kept in touch with Allen, who enrolled in the NYPD academy in the fall of 2019. Allen communicated frequently with Curro’s family, who were concerned about his well-being during the pandemic. The relationship between Curro and Allen became strained after Curro learned that Allen had been sharing his text messages with Curro’s family.

Following a flurry of confrontational and insulting text messages, the two agreed to meet on Langdon Road on the evening of May 12, 2020. Allen fired a round in Curro's direction almost immediately. La Pinta said during his closing that Curro had charged at Allen and Allen fired a warning shot from his NYPD gun. 

Cepriano told the jury that Allen realized his brief NYPD career was in serious jeopardy because he would have to answer for the missing bullet. Curro whipped out his cellphone and recorded part of the confrontation. “Are you shooting at me?” Curro asked.

Allen said yes, essentially confessing to behavior that could cost him his job. Allen tried to get in his car and leave but Curro blocked his way and called 911 to report the shooting, Cepriano said.

“You are not getting away,” the prosecutor said Curro must have been thinking.

The two got into a fight that was not captured on video. Cepriano said Allen was trying to flee, but La Pinta told the jury that Curro was the aggressor and tried to reach for the cop’s gun.

“In my opinion, this is as classic as a self-defense case as you have,” La Pinta said after court adjourned for the day. “Because if he would have reached that gun, given the history of this encounter, he would be the one on trial for murder right now.”

Cepriano repeatedly dismissed claims of self-defense, showing the jury photos of the abrasions Allen suffered on his neck, head and face during the scuffle next to a photo of Curro, blood oozing from the four bullet wounds in his head and neck. Photos of the deceased caused many in the gallery to gasp, and several people left the courtroom.

Cepriano said Curro's wounds showed these were “well-aimed shots” that indicate Allen had control of the Glock and was not scuffling with Curro when he fired. Curro was also shot in the arm during the encounter. The injuries Allen suffered, Cepriano told the jury, did not justify the fatal shooting.

“This is not a self-defense scene,” Cepriano said. “This is an execution.”

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