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Suspect charged with murder in NY friendly fire police death

Officers salute a procession as the remains of slain Detective Brian Simonsen to be removed from Jamaica Hospital Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in the Queens borough of New York. A NYPD detective and NYPD sergeant were shot and killed while responding to an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store in Queens. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).

NEW YORK – The robbery suspect targeted in a hail of police gunfire death of a New York City detective Tuesday night has a long rap sheet and a history of bizarre jokes ready for his social media pages.

Christopher Ransom, 27, once faked his way to a police station and court rooms and has a capacity of up to are Facebook and YouTube pages containing videos of himself disguised as a Speedo-wearing superhero.

After an arrest, court papers show, the Ransom was taken to a psychiatric ward.

Detective Brian Simonsen has died after being struck once in the chest as he and six other officers fired at Ransom, who is charged in the direction of the entrance of a T-Mobile store in Queens, while the simulation of the trigger on his fake gun, police said.

The officers fired a total of 42 times, NYPD, head of the Department Terence Monahan said.

Simonsen supervisor, Sgt. Matthew Gorman, was shot in the leg and is in stable condition. Ransom was wounded and is hospitalized in stable condition. The police charged Ransom with murder, robbery, assault, aggravated manslaughter, and threatening. It was not clear whether he had a lawyer.

The shooting began as Gorman and two uniformed officers retreated from the store as a Ransom emerged from a back room, and came at them, head of the Department Terence Monahan said.

“You have to understand, this happens in seconds,” Monahan said. “It goes from 0 to 60. You’re investigating a possible crime, and all of a sudden someone charging points at what you think you have a firearm, to simulate firing at you. It brings everything very quickly.”

Simonsen remained outside as Gorman and the uniformed officers went, Monahan said. Simonsen fired a two of the 42 photos. Gorman fired 11 times. It is not clear who shot that struck them, Monahan said.

The gunfire blew out the shop’s doors, showering the sidewalk with glass.

Five officers captured parts of the scene on the body of cameras, Force-Research Division, Chief Kevin Maloney said. The researchers also are reviewing the surveillance footage from the store.

Ransom was arrested at least 11 times since 2012, records show, and he was wanted by the police in connection with a Jan. 19 robbery at a mobile phone shop.

Ransom was charged in 2016, as a police officer after allegedly climbing over a fence and walk on a desk in a Brooklyn police station, while wearing a fake SWAT vest, and police badge.

The police records list his alias “Detective.” Ransom pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and was sentenced to 20 days in prison.

Four years earlier, he pleaded guilty, and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for pretending to be an intern in order to gain access to a court of the judiciary.

On the social media, the Ransom has decorated himself as a comedian and prankster, in the vein of Sasha Baron Cohen of “Borat” fame, posting videos of the stunts that sometimes veered into dangerous territory.

In a video, he is shown in his cape-and-Speedo superhero outfit to stop a subway by jumping on the tracks and holding his hand up. In another video, he shows up to a police district in the outfit.

Ransom sued the city in 2015, arrest, alleging the officers approached him on a Brooklyn street corner for no reason, cornered him in a supermarket with drawn guns and took him to a psychiatric ward against his will.

Ransom’s indictment was later dismissed, and he left the trial in 2016.

A message was left for Ransom lawyer in the lawsuit.

Simonsen, 42, grew up on Long Island, and he and his wife remained in the neighborhood – more than an hour’s drive from the 102nd district, where he worked his entire 19-year NYPD career.

Since his childhood he is known as the “Smile” for his light, pleasant personality. At Riverhead high School, he played football and baseball and was friends with everyone he met childhood friend Melissa Weir said.

“Everyone is in complete shock. Everyone feels this,” Weir said. “When you have someone like Brian, it really is hit everyone. There are people, everywhere hurt.”

Simonsen must have been Tuesday for a union, but he chose to go to work, so that he could continue with the follow of a series of recent robberies, Detectives’ Endowment Association president Michael Palladino said.

The police swarmed the T-Mobile store at 6:10 a.m. Tuesday after a 911 caller outside of state reported that a man had two employees to a back room at gunpoint, Monahan said.

Simonsen and Gorman, who are both in plainclothes, were working on another case in the area when the call came, and came around the same time as the patrol officers, police said.

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Follow Michael Sisak on twitter.com/mikesisak

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