The trial of former NYPD Officer Errick Allen begins in Mineola. NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports. Credit: Jeff Bachner; Corey Sipkin

An ex-NYPD rookie officer charged with fatally shooting his childhood friend five times at point-blank range in the head, neck and arm during an argument over a flurry of poison-pen text messages went on trial Tuesday in Nassau County Court.

Errick Allen, 30, of North Massapequa, was three months out of the police academy on May 12, 2020, when his neighborhood buddy, Christopher Curro, 25, beckoned him in text messages to meet around 8 p.m. in a secluded wooded area in Farmingdale to resolve their differences, according to both the defense and prosecution.

Curro sent Allen at least one furious text over what he saw was a breach of trust, according to the former officer’s lawyer, Anthony LaPinta.

“You would be lucky if I didn’t take you out myself,” Allen replied, according to Sandra Roberts, a prosecutor with the New York State Attorney General's Office.

The two friends, whom an elementary school teacher described as “peanut butter and jelly,” according to LaPinta, headed for a showdown that would end up with Curro dead on Langdon Road and Allen charged with his murder.

Curro and Allen grew up two houses apart, a year apart in age, and inseparable, the lawyer said.

“They spent most of their summer breaks riding bikes and skateboarding with each other," LaPinta said. "They had a good childhood because they had each other.”

Their friendship waned in middle school, but they reconnected at Farmingdale High School, where they graduated.

They attended Farmingdale State College, but Curro dropped out, LaPinta said. During the pandemic, Curro became estranged from his parents, moved out, got a job at a local pizzeria and cut all ties with his family, the defense lawyer said.

Curro worked part time for Allen’s stepfather and lived for a time at that home, LaPinta said.

Allen applied to the New York City Police Department, eventually enrolling in the academy in the fall of 2019 while Curro was working at the pizzeria, according to the lawyer.

Curro’s family kept in touch with Allen, and when they asked where their son was during the pandemic, Allen told them, LaPinta said. Curro viewed that disclosure as a breach of trust that sparked the showdown in the woods.

Prosecutors said that this was not a meeting to reconcile. Roberts said that Allen showed up with his loaded service-issue Glock handgun and fired one round at his friend almost immediately.

The first bullet missed, both sides agree.

The case is being tried by the New York Attorney General’s Office, which has been designated under law to oversee all police-involved fatalities.

Roberts told the jury on Tuesday that they would see that Allen was the aggressor, upset over the perceived disrespect that Curro had shown him.

“You’re not a cop,” Curro said in texts, mocking his friend. “I’m a cop.”

Roberts said that Allen chased down his friend and shot him as he lay on the ground next to his car on Langdon Road.

“This was an execution of an unarmed man. This was not self-defense. This was not justified,” she said.

Curro managed to call the police as he was being chased and recorded his own death on his cellphone, according to the prosecutor.

Allen’s lawyer said it was Curro who was the aggressor. Curro put Allen in a headlock twice — the second one from behind — and when Allen felt he was losing consciousness, he used his gun to save his own life, LaPinta said.

“Chris overpowered Errick, jumping on him, straddling him,” LaPinta said. “Chris began choking Errick with his hands and banged his head against the curb.”

LaPinta said that Curro’s fingerprints are on the gun, and that he reached for it with deadly intent.

After the shooting, Allen took off, heading back to his parents’ house over the shock at what had happened, LaPinta said. “He washed some of the blood off and strategized with his stepfather over what to do next."

Cameron Corton, a music teacher, testified on Tuesday that he came upon the body on the roadway after the shooting and thought someone was playing a trick on him.

“I got out and I said to the person, 'Hey, listen, buddy, I understand you’re playing a prank but you can’t just be laying in the street like this' and there was no response.”

Police arrived and confirmed that it was not a prank.

Half an hour after the shooting, Allen returned to the scene and admitted to killing Curro in self-defense, according to the defense lawyer and prosecutors.

Testimony continues on Wednesday.

An ex-NYPD rookie officer charged with fatally shooting his childhood friend five times at point-blank range in the head, neck and arm during an argument over a flurry of poison-pen text messages went on trial Tuesday in Nassau County Court.

Errick Allen, 30, of North Massapequa, was three months out of the police academy on May 12, 2020, when his neighborhood buddy, Christopher Curro, 25, beckoned him in text messages to meet around 8 p.m. in a secluded wooded area in Farmingdale to resolve their differences, according to both the defense and prosecution.

Curro sent Allen at least one furious text over what he saw was a breach of trust, according to the former officer’s lawyer, Anthony LaPinta.

“You would be lucky if I didn’t take you out myself,” Allen replied, according to Sandra Roberts, a prosecutor with the New York State Attorney General's Office.

The two friends, whom an elementary school teacher described as “peanut butter and jelly,” according to LaPinta, headed for a showdown that would end up with Curro dead on Langdon Road and Allen charged with his murder.

Curro and Allen grew up two houses apart, a year apart in age, and inseparable, the lawyer said.

“They spent most of their summer breaks riding bikes and skateboarding with each other," LaPinta said. "They had a good childhood because they had each other.”

Their friendship waned in middle school, but they reconnected at Farmingdale High School, where they graduated.

They attended Farmingdale State College, but Curro dropped out, LaPinta said. During the pandemic, Curro became estranged from his parents, moved out, got a job at a local pizzeria and cut all ties with his family, the defense lawyer said.

Curro worked part time for Allen’s stepfather and lived for a time at that home, LaPinta said.

Allen applied to the New York City Police Department, eventually enrolling in the academy in the fall of 2019 while Curro was working at the pizzeria, according to the lawyer.

Curro’s family kept in touch with Allen, and when they asked where their son was during the pandemic, Allen told them, LaPinta said. Curro viewed that disclosure as a breach of trust that sparked the showdown in the woods.

Prosecutors said that this was not a meeting to reconcile. Roberts said that Allen showed up with his loaded service-issue Glock handgun and fired one round at his friend almost immediately.

The first bullet missed, both sides agree.

The case is being tried by the New York Attorney General’s Office, which has been designated under law to oversee all police-involved fatalities.

Roberts told the jury on Tuesday that they would see that Allen was the aggressor, upset over the perceived disrespect that Curro had shown him.

“You’re not a cop,” Curro said in texts, mocking his friend. “I’m a cop.”

Roberts said that Allen chased down his friend and shot him as he lay on the ground next to his car on Langdon Road.

“This was an execution of an unarmed man. This was not self-defense. This was not justified,” she said.

Curro managed to call the police as he was being chased and recorded his own death on his cellphone, according to the prosecutor.

Allen’s lawyer said it was Curro who was the aggressor. Curro put Allen in a headlock twice — the second one from behind — and when Allen felt he was losing consciousness, he used his gun to save his own life, LaPinta said.

“Chris overpowered Errick, jumping on him, straddling him,” LaPinta said. “Chris began choking Errick with his hands and banged his head against the curb.”

LaPinta said that Curro’s fingerprints are on the gun, and that he reached for it with deadly intent.

After the shooting, Allen took off, heading back to his parents’ house over the shock at what had happened, LaPinta said. “He washed some of the blood off and strategized with his stepfather over what to do next."

Cameron Corton, a music teacher, testified on Tuesday that he came upon the body on the roadway after the shooting and thought someone was playing a trick on him.

“I got out and I said to the person, 'Hey, listen, buddy, I understand you’re playing a prank but you can’t just be laying in the street like this' and there was no response.”

Police arrived and confirmed that it was not a prank.

Half an hour after the shooting, Allen returned to the scene and admitted to killing Curro in self-defense, according to the defense lawyer and prosecutors.

Testimony continues on Wednesday.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Errick Allen, 30, says he shot and killed his childhood friend Christopher Curro in self-defense.
  • Allen and Curro grew up two houses apart and spent summers riding bikes and skateboarding together.
  • An argument over a perceived breach of trust precipitated the deadly encounter, prosecutors said.
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