Possible accomplice sought in Queens robbery that led to friendly fire death

RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) -- The suspect involved in a Queens robbery that led to the friendly fire death of an NYPD police officer was arraigned Friday, this as the department announced it is looking for a possible accomplice.

Detectives are looking for a man who may have arrived with 27-year-old Christopher Ransom in a for-hire car and fled when shots were fired at the Richmond Hill T-Mobile store.

"There's somebody else we are looking for," NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill told The Joe Piscopo Show on AM 970 The Answer. "I don't want to go too deep into it. (Chief of Detectives) Dermot Shea and his people from the detective bureau are out there. Anybody who was involved in this, we have the best detective bureau in the world, they will make sure that everybody involved in this will be apprehended. They will face justice and they will face consequences."

Detective Brian Simonsen, 42, a 19-year veteran of the force, died from injuries suffered in the shooting. NYPD Sergeant Matthew Gorman was also struck by gunfire but has since been treated and released.

Ransom was arraigned by video teleconference from his hospital room on robbery and felony murder charges. Despite bail motions from his two legal aid attorneys, the judge ordered him held without bail.

The judge did grant protective custody status for when he is released to Rikers Island because of what his lawyers described as "multiple death threats" on his Facebook page. His legal team also requested Ransom be placed on a suicide watch, and the judge granted that request.

Ransom answered "yes" when asked several procedural questions, but he made no statements throughout the proceeding. His image could be seen from the shoulders up, with a wire or tube protruding from his upper chest.

His head was mostly tilted to the left, and he barely moved in his bed at New York Presbyterian Hospital Queens.

His lawyers did not explicitly state that he was motivated to commit suicide when he charged at the officers with the fake gun, but they suggested it as a possible motive for his reckless behavior.

Defense attorney Ken Finkleman insisted prosecutors had "overcharge" his client.

"Murder is totally inappropriate," he said, claiming Ransom might have foreseen his own death but could not have anticipated the detective's death.

The judge denied the defense motion to dismiss the murder charge, and the case will be presented to a grand jury next week.

Meanwhile, detectives have been attempting to determine Ransom's planned getaway and reviewing surveillance to see whether a second person was holding a car for him outside.

A MetroCard was recovered in Ransom's possession, and detectives tan its history to determine his movements through subways and buses.

O'Neill said Ransom was wearing a mask when he came out with an imitation firearm and confronted the officers. He said officers are "supposed to be wearing vests" and "that's part of the review."

He also discussed the investigation.

"There's a couple things we need to do, I need to do," he said. "We also have to take a look, it's our responsibility to take a look. I'm going to ask Chief (Theresa) Shortell, the chief of training, to take a look at this incident and see what we can do to prevent it from happening again. This is something that these police officers, and Sergeant Gorman, will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Make no mistake about it. They responded to this job. They didn't hesitate. There's one person responsible for Brian (Simonsen)'s death, and that's the guy that decided he was going to commit a robbery in a T-Mobile store and hold people hostage."

On Thursday, the NYPD released a photo of the fake gun they say a suspect used.

----------
* More Queens news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
*Follow us on YouTube
*
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.