Wall Street Journal
Upd. May 4, 2015 8:56 p.m. ET


New York City Police Officer Shot In Face Dies

 

Brian Moore, 25 years old, died from his injuries after being taken off life support at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center two days after the shooting

By PERVAIZ SHALLWANI

 
ANDREW HINDERAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
New York Police Department officers line up Monday outside of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center as an ambulance containing the body of 25-year-old Officer Brian Moore passes by.

Brian Moore, who died Monday after being shot in the face attempting to stop a suspect, was hailed by Police Commissioner William Bratton as “an exceptional young officer” who ascended to an elite anticrime unit since joining the New York Police Department in 2010.

“I did not know this officer in person in life. I have only come to know him in death,” Mr. Bratton said outside Jamaica Hospital Medical Center after visiting with Officer Moore’s family and colleagues.

    
NYPD  
NYPD Officer Brian Moore, who was shot Saturday, died Monday after being taken off life support.  

Mr. Bratton called the 25-year-old, who came from a family of police officers, including his father, “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.”

Officer Moore made 159 arrests since joining the force and received medals for Excellent Police Duty and Meritorious Police Duty, the NYPD said.

Hundreds of officers lined up outside the hospital to honor Officer Moore when his body was taken to the city medical examiner’s office in Manhattan.

Family members leaned in to touch the ambulance as it pulled away. Flags at the city’s police headquarters were lowered to half-staff.

Officer Moore had been in a coma since undergoing surgery for injuries suffered after he was shot through the glass of his unmarked police car Saturday. He was taken off life support Monday.

He was in plain clothes on Saturday, patrolling in an unmarked police car with his partner, when he was shot by a suspect who they saw tugging at the waistband of his pants, authorities said.

Demetrius Blackwell, a 35-year-old man with a long criminal record, has been charged with attempted murder and is being held without bail.

On Monday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the charges will be upgraded to first-degree murder, which carries a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He expects to present evidence to a grand jury on Tuesday.

Mr. Blackwell’s attorney, David Bart, said his client is innocent.

“That’s something that we maintained at the very beginning and we’re not backing off that contention,” he said. “I don’t think the fact that the officer died—which is tragic—changes our position on the case at this time.”

The death came as investigators found the .38 caliber revolver that they believe was used in the shooting, officials said. The gun, which was located Monday morning, had two remaining bullets.

It was one of 23 guns stolen in 2011 from a Georgia bait-and-tackle shop, said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. Nine of those guns have since been recovered in New York City, he said.

ANDREW HINDERAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
A woman touches an ambulance containing the remains of Officer Brian Moore.

Officer Moore is the fifth New York City police officer to be shot while on duty since December, when two officers were killed in Brooklyn.

Mr. Bratton said he met with the more than 200 officers assigned to Officer Moore’s direct command. They had rushed to the hospital from the funeral of another officer who had died from injuries that appeared to be related to issues following Sept. 11.

“They immediately came from that funeral service this morning to this hospital where they were met with the news that their colleague had passed away,” Mr. Bratton said.

Patrick Lynch, president of the union that represents NYPD officers, said members will grieve with Officer Moore’s family and then go back to work, showing the city they haven’t been deterred.

“When we’re done here, when we square our shoulders and wipe our tears for Brian and his family, those same police officers are going to turn around and they’re going to staff radio cars and foot posts,” Mr. Lynch said. “They may have sadness in their eyes, they have bravery in their hearts.”

EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS
An NYPD officer is seen on the roof of a house while police search for the weapon used to shoot New York City police officer Brian Moore in Queens Village.

“Our city is in mourning. Our hearts are heavy,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday evening. “He risked his life for a very simple notion, to keep everyone else safe, to keep our society safe, to keep order.”

The incident that led to Officer Moore’s death occurred Saturday night near 104th Road and 212th Street in Queens Village neighborhood of Queens.

According to a law-enforcement official, Officer Moore, who was with his partner, Erik Jansen, saw Mr. Blackwell, identified himself as a police officer and asked “Do you have something in your waistband?”

Mr. Blackwell replied, “Yeah, I got something,” took a gun from his waistband and fired at the officers, striking Officer Moore, the official said. Officer Jansen wasn’t injured.

Mr. Blackwell was arrested about two hours later, near the crime scene.

Officer Moore’s wake is scheduled for Thursday, followed by a funeral on Friday. At his home in Massapequa, Long Island, neighbors, officers and others, including people who had never met Officer Moore, paid their respects Monday.

“It’s terrible. It’s unfortunately something that can happen to anyone at any point,” saidDanny Roberts, 38, an NYPD officer who laid flowers on Officer Moore’s doorstep. “We’re all thinking of Brian. Anything they need, the NYPD is always here for support.”

A neighbor, Vincent Pensato, 52, said he didn’t know the family personally but said the community is crushed by his death.

“My son went to school ahead of him,” he said. “In the blink of an eye, it’s over. It’s not fair.”

— Mark Morales and Sonja Sharp contributed to this article.