An NYPD police officer died Monday, two days after being shot in the head while sitting in an unmarked car in Queens, New York’s police commissioner said Monday.
Officer Brian Moore, 25, had been in a medically-induced coma after undergoing surgery for what court papers described as “severe injuries to his skull and brain.” District Attorney Richard Brown told The Associated Press on Sunday that Moore was “fighting for his life.”
He was removed from life support at 11:15 a.m. Monday.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, speaking to reporters outside Jamaica Hospital, said Moore “had already proved himself to be an exceptional young officer.”
“He had made over 150 arrests protecting and serving the citizens of this city,” Bratton said. “He had already received two exceptional police service medals, two meritorious police service medals. We don’t give them out easily. He worked for them. He earned them.”
The suspect, 35-year-old Demetrius Blackwell, was ordered held without bail Sunday after appearing in Queens Criminal Court. He did not enter a plea to charges of attempted murder.
It’s likely that the charges will be upgraded to murder.
Prosecutors planned to present the case to a grand jury before Blackwell’s next court appearance on Friday.
Blackwell’s court-appointed lawyer, David Bart, said his client denied the charges, which also include assault and weapons offenses.
“As a member of the NYPD, Officer Moore put the safety of his fellow New Yorkers before his own, and we will remember his service with gratitude and pride,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “I join with all New Yorkers in mourning his passing and send my deepest condolences to his friends and family.”
Police on Monday continued to search for the weapon.
“This was nothing more and nothing less than a cold-blooded attempt at an assassination of New York’s finest,” Assistant District Attorney Peter McCormack said.
McCormack said Moore and patrol partner Erik Jansen – both in plainclothes in an unmarked police car – approached Blackwell on a Queens street after seeing him tugging at his waistband around 6:15 p.m. Saturday and asked him “What are you carrying?”
The officers ordered Blackwell to stop and exchanged words with him. That’s when Blackwell turned, the prosecutor said, and “in a vicious manner started to fire” – at least two shots.
Jansen was not hit and radioed for help.
CBS New York reports that Blackwell, known on the street as “Hellraiser,” has nine previous arrests on his record, including charges of attempted murder, robbery, weapons possession and assault on two officers, authorities said. In 2013 he was arrested on attempted grand larceny charges. That same year, he was also charged for assault on a police officer.
“I did not know this officer in person in life. I’ve only come to know him in death,” Bratton said. “An extraordinary young man. A great loss to his family, a great loss to this department and a great loss to this profession and to this city.”
Moore is the fifth NYPD officer shot since December, and the third to die in the line of duty. Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were killed Dec. 20 when a gunman shot them as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
On Jan. 5, plainclothes officers Andrew Dossi and Aliro Pellerano were shot responding to a grocery store robbery in the Bronx. Both of those officers survived.