A Brooklyn man whose attempted cellphone store robbery led to the 2019 friendly fire death of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen pleaded guilty Wednesday and is expected to be sentenced to 33 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Christopher Ransom, 30, pleaded guilty to second-degree aggravated manslaughter and first-degree robbery in the death of Simonsen, 42, of Calverton, who was fatally shot while responding to a report of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store in Richmond Hill, Queens, on Feb. 12, 2019, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Simonsen’s supervisor, NYPD Sgt. Matthew Gorman, of Seaford, was also shot. He survived.
Ransom, who was initially indicted on 23 charges including second-degree murder, is expected to be sentenced in mid-November as part of the plea deal that includes five years of supervised release, the DA’s office said Wednesday.
"The defendant set in motion a terrible chain of events that began with a robbery and ended in a spray of bullets when Ransom pointed what appeared to be a deadly firearm toward police officers," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement.
"The defendant was repeatedly told to lower his weapon but did not do so. The heartbreaking result was the loss of Detective Simonsen’s life and Sergeant Matthew Gorman being shot in the leg. We express our condolences once again to Detective Simonsen’s family and hope today brings them a measure of closure."
Ransom’s defense attorney could not be reached for comment.
Ransom’s co-defendant, Jagger Freeman, of Queens, who was also charged with murder for his alleged role as a lookout during the attempted robbery, is due in court Monday, according to online court records. The DA’s office declined to comment on the purpose of his upcoming court appearance. Freeman’s attorney was not available to comment.
Prosecutors alleged that Ransom, brandishing a black pistol, entered the T-Mobile store on 120th Street in Richmond Hill after arriving with Freeman just after 6 p.m. Ransom, according to prosecutors, ordered two employees to surrender both cash and merchandise from the backroom of the store.
Responding officers fired 42 shots in about 11 seconds, the NYPD said at the time of the shooting. Ransom was shot eight times. Simonsen, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, was fatally shot once in the torso.