An Editor’s Note published July 12, 2017, about Kevin Deutsch’s reporting appears at the end of this story.
A New York City police officer from Long Island was shot in the head in Queens Saturday night and surgeons were fighting to save his life, officials said.
Officer Brian Moore, 25, of Massapequa, was in plainclothes and in an unmarked police car with his partner in Queens Village when a man they sought to question pulled out a gun and shot him, Police Commissioner William Bratton said.
Demetrius Blackwell, 35, identified as the suspected shooter, was under arrest after a manhunt by scores of NYPD and Nassau County officers.
Moore underwent hours of surgery at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. Doctors said it would take 24 to 48 hours before they knew his prognosis.
Police in massive numbers descended on the neighborhood after the 6:15 p.m. shooting. Officers peered into yards and passing vehicles and told residents to stay in their homes.
Moore, an anti-crime officer with the 105th Precinct, was shot at 104th Road and 212th Street.
The gunman pulled a weapon during an encounter with plainclothes police and started shooting without warning, another police source said.
Moore and Officer Erik Jansen, 30, were in an unmarked car and saw the suspect "walking and adjusting an object in his waistband," Bratton said at a news conference at the hospital.
They followed him in the car and started to talk to the suspect, who "immediately removed a firearm from his waistband and turned in the direction of the officers and deliberately fired several times into the vehicle, striking Officer Moore in the head," Bratton said.
A father and daughter who live down the block from the scene of the shooting said they heard about three gunshots and went outside, where they saw a man they believed to be the shooter fleeing.
He emerged from the backyard of a home at the southeast corner of 212th Street and 104th Road and jumped over a fence before heading east, said the father and daughter, who declined to give their names because they feared retribution.
"The pants were too low, he couldn't run with them," said the father, who has lived at the house 10 years. "He was walking fast, he was pushing the gun down into his pants."
The daughter said that when police arrived about five minutes later, she and her dad directed them in the direction they saw the man flee.
Deborah Caviness, who lives on 212th Street, said she was in her backyard with her grandchildren when she heard gunshots.
"I heard three shots," said Caviness, who has lived in her Queens Village home for 30 years. She said shootings in the neighborhood are rare. "It's terrible," she said.
However, one of the police sources said drugs and gang activity are problems in the neighborhood.
The shooting comes five months after two NYPD officers were shot and killed in Brooklyn. Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot execution-style by Ismaaiyl Brinsley in the wake of a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner. Brinsley shot himself to death minutes later.
Bratton said there was no immediate indication of a similar motive in last night's shooting.
Moore joined the force in July 2010. His father and uncle are retired NYPD sergeants and he also has a cousin on the force, Bratton said.
Editor’s note: Newsday undertook an extensive, four-month review of reporting by Kevin Deutsch, who covered law enforcement from April 2012 to September 2016.
The review of the former Newsday reporter’s work began after The Baltimore Sun this year reported that law enforcement and other officials questioned the veracity of Deutsch’s nonfiction book “Pill City” about Baltimore’s drug trade. In addition, questions arose about individuals named in Newsday stories by Deutsch. Book publisher St. Martin’s Press and Deutsch have said they stand behind the book.
We are dedicated to accurate, factual reporting, to the highest journalistic standards and to maintaining our credibility with Newsday readers. We also are committed to being accountable to our readers. Newsday undertook the detailed review in that spirit and because of the concerns that were raised.
In late February, as our review was under way, The New York Times reported in an editor’s note that The Times “had been unable to locate or confirm the existence of two people who were named and quoted” in a Dec. 29, 2016, freelance article written by Deutsch. Deutsch “maintains that the interviews and the descriptions are accurate,” The Times wrote.
Newsday reviewed 600 stories with reporting by Deutsch. We contacted officials in the police departments regularly involved in Deutsch’s coverage. They said they had not had problems with his work. We then focused our research and reporting on individuals who, as described in the stories, would not be considered officials, or well-known, public figures.
The review found 77 stories with 109 individuals from Deutsch’s reporting whom Newsday could not locate. The main points of the stories were not affected. While two stories about the Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen were based on sources Newsday could not locate, other media reported the main points of those stories but with attribution from different sources. In this story, Newsday could not locate: Deborah Caviness. Newsday is attaching an editor’s note to each story online that contains individuals we cannot locate.
Here’s how Newsday conducted the review:
Researchers and reporters searched local and national public records, sites providing nationwide people searches, databases of business, real estate and conviction records, social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn and Ancestry.com and nationwide news archives. They searched potential alternate spellings and other name variations. Their reporting followed potential leads they found through research, within stories and in information shared by Deutsch during the review.
Finding people after publication, in some cases years later, can be difficult because of changes in residence, circumstance and contact information. Some may not have given their real names.
On the law enforcement beat, reporters may encounter people who lead lives that are not reflected in public records or other sources of information that would help locate them. It is possible that some on our list were difficult to find or reluctant to respond to our review because they are undocumented immigrants, those battling or recovering from addiction or people involved in or around illegal activity.
Some on our list were described discussing crimes in their neighborhoods, and others as relatives, friends or neighbors of victims or as individuals living near or knowing those accused of crimes.
Others we have not been able to locate, though, are described as bystanders, neighbors, spectators, relatives of drug victims, witnesses to news events or related in some way to people in the news. Still others are described in stories as people actively engaged in public issues, such as activists, protesters and marchers. Many individuals on the list are described as local.
Deutsch said in email exchanges with Newsday that “I have no doubt about the veracity of the claims of the sources I quoted.” He also said, “Not a single public official, source, or other interviewee has raised any issues with even one of these stories.”
“It's impossible for any reporter to know whether the name given to him by interviewees on the street--or those reached briefly by phone or email-- is that person's full and legal name, rather than an alias or variation of their real name (maiden names and certain common nicknames/abbreviations for first names are often published by newspapers, including Newsday.). But every one of the names on Newsday’s list was the name given to me by that interview subject, verbatim.”
During the four months of our review, Newsday shared questions and updates with Deutsch as we progressed in the search for individuals we could not locate. We requested notes and contact information. Deutsch sent us notes he said represented all individuals we were unable to locate and responded over the course of the review by email, sharing information he said was from his recollection and notes.
Reporters followed up on all information shared by Deutsch. He did not provide contact information for those on our list. Newsday reporters and editors sought unsuccessfully several times to meet with Deutsch to discuss his reporting and to review his notes together to ensure we were not missing contact information or other details that might help locate individuals. Deutsch maintained that the notes he shared “serve as evidence of interviews” with each source.
Deutsch said he kept contact information in a Rolodex he left behind at Newsday’s main office and in a company-issued cellphone he returned within a week after resigning on Sept. 6, 2016. Editorial staff did not find a Rolodex or other notes at our office, but found notes left at Newsday’s desk at a courthouse pressroom where he worked. We shared them with Deutsch and he confirmed they were his. As per company policy, the contents of the cellphone had been deleted immediately after Deutsch returned it to Newsday.
Maintaining the trust of our readers is essential to our mission. If we are able subsequently to locate any individuals, we will update our stories.