By David Brand
A second suspect in the alleged robbery that led to the shooting death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Sunday as roughly 20 cops stood outside the courthouse and another dozen filled the first row of the courtroom.
Jagger Freeman, 25, was arraigned before Judge Guy Mitchell, who remanded Freeman to Rikers Island. He is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault, multiple counts of robbery and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly serving as the lookout for co-defendant Christopher Ransom during two Metro PCS store robberies in Richmond Hill.
During the second alleged robbery on Feb. 12, police responding to the scene shot 42 times, striking and killing Simonsen and injuring Sergeant Matthew Gorman as they left the store where they had attempted to arrest Ransom. Officers also shot Ransom, who remains hospitalized.
Though another cop pulled the trigger and killed Simonsen, New York felony murder law states that an individual can be found guilty if someone dies while they are committing a felony.
The robbery, said Queens Assistant District Attorney Michael Curtis, “set off a chain reaction that led to two officers being shot.”
Freeman, tall and thin, stood before the court in a white sweatshirt and gray jeans as Curtis blamed him for killing Simonsen.
“The defendant and his co-defendant are wholly responsible and wholly culpable for the injuries sustained by Sergeant Gorman and the untimely death of Detective Simonsen,” Curtis said.
Freeman is also charged with another robbery that occurred on Feb. 8 and allegedly involved Ransom, according to the criminal complaint.
Freeman is represented by attorney Jonathan Latimer from Queens Law Associates. His grand jury date is scheduled for Feb. 21.
Ransom is also charged with murder and is represented by attorneys from The Legal Aid Society, which said they lacked access to their client in a statement last week.
“The events that took place this past week leading to the death of Detective Brian Simonsen and the injury of Sergeant Matthew Gorman are indeed tragic. However, we caution everyone, including the media, not to demonize Mr. Ransom who was shot several times,” Legal Aid said in a statement. “The loss of life and the serious injuries suffered by all are tragic. But we ask the public to respect Mr. Ransom's right to due process and a presumption of innocence. Our defense team stands ready to fight for Mr. Ransom within a system that vilifies people based on the color of their skin, ethnicity, and economic status.”