NYPD detective killed in friendly fire in Queens

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NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen was killed in the line of duty on Feb. 12, 2019.

A detective and a sergeant were shot while responding to a call about an armed robbery at a store in Queens on Tuesday evening, the NYPD said.  The detective died in the shooting.

The detective, identified as Brian Simonsen of the 102nd Precinct's detective squad, was apparently hit by so-called friendly fire when several officers opened fire on a suspect who was believed to be armed, according to Commissioner James O'Neill.

The NYPD says Tuesday evening at 6:10 p.m., two separate 911 callers reported a robbery in progress at a T-Mobile cell phone store located at 91-62 120th Street.

The callers described the suspect as a male armed with a firearm. At least one of the callers said two employees of the store had been forced at gunpoint to the rear of the store.

Detective Simonsen and his sergeant were in the area - working an unrelated case at the time - when they heard the call come over the radio.  They responded immediately and pulled up as patrol units arrived.

Through the windows of the store, the officers did not see anyone inside. The officers then entered the store and immediately saw a man fitting the description of the suspect emerge from the back, pointing at them what appeared to be a handgun.

With the suspect advancing toward them, the officers discharged their weapons and retreated out of the store. That was when Detective Simonsen was shot.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and several other city officials came to Jamaica Hospital Trauma Center to meet with the officers involved and their families.

The sergeant, who was hit in a leg, is also from the 102nd Precinct. He is expected to recover.

"Please keep in your thoughts and prayers the @NYCPDDEA who was killed in the line of duty tonight and the @SBANYPD member who was also wounded. Our hearts go out to them," the PBA, a union, tweeted.

The suspect, a 27-year-old Brooklyn man, was shot multiple times.  He was taken by ambulance from teh scene to Booth Memorial hospital in Queens.  He was listed in stable condition.  Police described him as a "career criminal."

Police say the man was using an imitation firearm during the robbery.