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February 15, 2019

NYPD veteran detective who was shot dead while responding to a robbery was an organ donor

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A 19-year veteran detective's organs will be donated to those in need following his death in the line of duty. 

Brian Simonsen, 42, will continue to save lives even after his own was taken from him when he responded to a robbery in Queens.

According to former partner Terrence LeGrady, the slain detective wanted his organs to be donated upon death. After some friendly fire took Simonsen's life on Tuesday, he will now be a hero in a different way. 

On Thursday, LeGrady told the media: 

“Anybody who got his organs is very blessed. He was just the most wonderful human being. I hope they live a happy, healthy life, as he did.”

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In addition to the internal organs, a skin transplant was reportedly part of the removal process. A Bronx medical facility carried out the procedures. Later, they thanked Simonsen's mourning wife. 

Simonsen and other officers were met on Tuesday with a robber holding a gun replica at a T-Mobile store. When he pretended to fire, officers responded by firing 42 rounds over a period of about 11 seconds.

Mayor of New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio, expressed his condolences on Wednesday via a Twitter post.

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Simonsen was hit in the chest. He was only at work on Tuesday because he chose to go back and look into a robbery investigation. He could have stayed home after leaving a detectives union meeting earlier in the day. 

The children in his neighborhood used to call him "Uncle Brian," while others knew him as "Smiles." Simonsen was warm-hearted, approachable, and loved by many family and friends alike. 

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said: 

"There wasn't a person in the 102 that didn't know him, from the cleaner to the command officer. He was who you called if you had a problem. Wasn't just the cops who knew him well, the community, everyone knew him, that he's the cop you reached out to if a problem needed to be handled."

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He explained that the loss has left everyone "in complete shock." Neighbors spoke of their heartbroken kids. Just over a week ago, Simonsen hosted a Super Bowl get-together in his home. 

The community will hold a wake for him on Monday, February 18 and Tuesday, February 19 at the Church of St Rosalie in Hampton Bays. The funeral is set for Wednesday, February 20 at 10 am.

The current suspect in Simonsen's death is Christopher Ransom, 27. He has been charged with first and second-degree robbery, second-degree aggravated manslaughter, and assault. 

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Ransom's priors include larceny, fraud and criminal impersonation. On Tuesday, Ransom was reportedly dressed in a fully black outfit as he compelled two employees of the store to go to the back. 

When officers arrived, he received gunshots but was left in stable condition at the Jamaica Medical Center. Another officer, Sergeant Matthew Gorman, was hit in the leg but it wasn't critical.

The tragic news is similar to the death and injury of two others officers in Alabama in mid-January. Sergeant Wytasha Carter and his colleagues approached a man attempting to break into a vehicle. 

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They searched him and found a gun. When prodded, the man armed himself and fired at the officers. One was injured but Carter passed away. He will be remembered as a "courageous man" whose sacrifice will never be forgotten. He left behind a wife and two children.

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