A man received a sentence of between 30 years and life in prison for his actions leading up to the death of a NYPD investigator due to friendly fire.
As adjudicated in court, Jagger Freeman, 28, and his co-defendant Christopher Ransom, 31, committed a robbery at a cell phone store in 2019. The responding officers fatally shot Detective Brian Simonsen, 42, just outside the structure. Police Sgt. Matthew Gorman was injured during the tragic encounter.
Freeman voiced an apology for the detective’s loved ones during his sentencing hearing on Thursday, but he continued to maintain innocence in the man’s death.
“I want to say to the family and wife of Detective Simonsen, and also of Sgt. Gorman that I’m truly sorry for what happened and the loss,” he said, according to WCBS-TV.
“I am not a killer,” he said elsewhere. “I am not a murderer. I am a good person.”
He was convicted in June of charges including felony murder and robbery in Simonsen’s death.
Freeman was also convicted in a separate cell phone store robbery that happened Feb. 8, 2019, several days before the shooting.
Freeman was the only person to stand trial for the detective’s tragic passing. Ransom pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in the second degree and robbery in the first degree; he was sentenced to 33 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision .
“The defendant orchestrated a string of robberies, the last of which involved an imitation weapon, and led to the tragic loss of Detective Brian Simonsen and the wounding of Sergeant Matthew Gorman,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “The jury found the defendant guilty of murder and he will now serve a lengthy time in prison as punishment for his criminal actions. We continue to express our condolences to Detective Simonsen’s family and fellow service members.”
Judge Kenneth Holder on Thursday emphasized both men were legally culpable for creating the scenario in which Simonsen died — a basic presumption of felony murder laws.
“Make no mistake, you and Ransom set in motion the series of events, the result of which, under the circumstances, while tragic, were certainly within the range of possible outcomes, and for that, both you and Ransom are equally responsible,” he said.
The Queens District Attorney’s Office has said that Ransom pointed his gun at police. Officers fired 42 shots in response, according to The Queens Daily Eagle.
“According to Court records, on February 12, 2019, Ransom and Freeman arrived at the T-Mobile store on 120th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens, shortly after 6 p.m.,” prosecutors said last month. “Defendant Ransom entered the cell phone business brandishing a black pistol. Ransom ordered two employees inside the establishment to surrender both cash and merchandise from the back room of the store. Ransom was still inside the business when police officers responded to the scene. Ransom pointed his gun – which appeared real – at the police officers, who discharged their weapons in response.”
“Jagger Freeman not only killed my husband, he killed a part of everyone who knew him and loved him,” widow Leanne Simonsen said in court.
Leanne Simonsen remembered her husband Brian as “warm, generous, always smiling, always willing to help out, always willing to assist anyone in need.”
“Today is the day that my husband, Detective Brian Simonsen, can finally rest in peace,” she said.
[Screenshot via WCBS]
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