Christopher Curro's mother, Susanne Curro, center, after the acquittal of...

Christopher Curro's mother, Susanne Curro, center, after the acquittal of Errick Allen at Nassau County Court in Mineola on Thursday. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

A Nassau County jury on Thursday acquitted a former NYPD officer accused of fatally shooting his childhood friend during a rage-filled confrontation in 2020 of second-degree murder and manslaughter and found him guilty of a lesser charge.

The jury in Nassau County Court in Mineola found Errick Allen, 30, of North Massapequa, guilty of menacing, a misdemeanor that carries a one-year maximum prison sentence. The Massapequa resident, who has been incarcerated ever since he was indicted in August 2021 in the death of his longtime friend Christopher Curro, was scheduled to be released from custody Thursday evening.

Prosecutors from New York Attorney General Letitia James' office told the jury during the five-week trial that Allen had executed his friend following an exchange of angry and insulting text messages. Defense attorney Anthony La Pinta argued that Curro had attacked Allen and attempted to grab Allen’s NYPD-issued Glock. La Pinta called the case a “classic case of self-defense.”

“This has rocked my family and I also understand that a life was lost here,” said Allen’s stepfather, Kyle Savas. “I hope everyone can begin healing. I hope the Curro family can find peace.”

Curro’s mother said she was angry and “very surprised and very shocked” at the verdict. Her son, Susanne Curro said, was unarmed during the May 12, 2020 confrontation on Langdon Road in Farmingdale. Curro was 24 when he died.

“Chris had no weapons. My son only used his words, he didn’t use his weapons and he didn’t use his hands,” said Curro, of the Bronx. “My son did not deserve that. This is very unfair, what they (the jury) did.”

“The system failed us,” added Rosa Maiorino, Curro’s niece and the deceased’s cousin.

The New York Attorney General’s Office, designated by law to oversee all police-involved fatalities, declined to comment on the verdict.

“I am happy for Errick and his family,” La Pinta said. “It’s going to take some time and a lot of work to move on, but I know his family will continue to support him and stand by him and help him heal from this awful tragedy.”

Allen and Curro grew up on the same block and had been friends since their days at Albany Avenue Elementary School in North Massapequa, La Pinta said in his opening argument. Curro’s parents, upset over his chronic cannabis use and angry that he was not attending school and not working enough hours, forced him to move out of their home in November 2019, trial testimony showed.

Curro wanted to cut all ties with his family, according to testimony at the trial. Curro’s family, concerned about his well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, contacted Allen regularly about him. When Curro learned that Allen had been sharing his text messages with Curro’s family, their decadeslong friendship turned toxic, trial testimony showed.

Allen and Curro agreed to meet on Langdon Road following a flurry of confrontational and insulting text messages between the two. Prosecutors argued that Allen shot Curro execution-style, with two bullets to the head and two others to the neck. A fifth bullet struck Curro’s arm.

La Pinta told the jury that Allen was battling for his life.”

Curro stayed with the Allen family briefly, according to testimony at trial. Allen’s family and Curro’s family were neighbors for decades, their lives intertwined for more than 20 years, Savas said. He said his family too grieves for Curro and understands the pain his death has caused.

Savas is also happy that Allen, incarcerated for nearly three years, was acquitted of the most serious charges. “I got my son back,” he said.

Curro said her family will never have that joy.

“Errick gets to go home and have Easter,” Maiorino said.

“And my son is dead,” Curro added.

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