Brian Moore

  • Died: May 4, 2015
  • Location: Ithaca, New York

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This undated photo released by the New York City Police Department shows officer Brian Moore. Moore died Monday, May 4, 2015, two days after being shot in the head while sitting in an unmarked car in Queens, a City Hall official said. (New York City Police Department via AP, File)

NYPD officer dies from gunshot wound

NEW YORK (AP) — A 25-year-old police officer shot in the head while attempting to stop a man suspected of carrying a handgun died Monday from his injuries, the third New York City officer slain on duty in five months.

Brian Moore, who was in a coma after undergoing brain surgery following the Saturday evening shooting, was pronounced dead at a Queens hospital with his family, including his police officer father, uncle and cousin, at his bedside.

Hundreds of uniformed officers stood at attention outside the hospital and lined up down the block to salute the ambulance carrying his body. Afterward, many could be seen crying and consoling one another.

"He proved himself to be an exceptional young officer," Police Commissioner William Bratton said, noting Moore had made more than 150 arrests in less than five years on the job and earned meritorious service medals.

Moore and his partner were in plainclothes and in an unmarked police car when they approached Demetrius Blackwell in a quiet Queens neighborhood after they saw him adjusting his waistband, a move that made them suspicious he had a handgun, authorities said.

The officers pulled up next to Blackwell, 35, and exchanged words before the man suddenly turned, pulled out a weapon and fired at least twice at them, striking Moore in the head and face, according to court documents.

Blackwell has been charged with attempted murder and other crimes. He is being held without bail and has not entered a plea. His attorney has denied the charges.

He will be charged with first-degree murder, prosecutors said.

Investigators discovered the five-shot silver Taurus used in the shooting under a box near a backyard grill along the route Blackwell fled following the shooting, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

The gun, which had two live rounds still in the chamber, was one of 23 weapons reported stolen in October 2011 from a bait and tackle shop in Perry, Georgia, he said. Ten of those weapons have since been recovered — nine of them in in New York.

Mayor Bill de Blasio mourned Moore's death.

"He risked his life for a very simple notion — to keep everyone else safe, to keep our society safe, to keep order," the mayor said at an evening news conference. "This is what he wanted to do."

Patrick Lynch, who heads the rank-and-file police officers' union, joined Moore's family at the hospital and told reporters afterward that the city's police force would pay their respects, and then return to their posts patrolling streets, stairwells and subways.

"They may have sadness in their eyes, but they have bravery in the hearts," he said.

Moore had been on the job since July 2010, officials said. Flags at police headquarters were flying at half-staff Monday.

He is the first city officer to be killed on duty since two uniformed police officers were slain in December in Brooklyn.

Officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, were shot at close range as they were sitting in their patrol car Dec. 20. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, then ran into a nearby subway station and fatally shot himself.

Before the ambush, Brinsley posted on an Instagram account that he was planning to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for Eric Garner's death in an apparent police chokehold.

Officials have said Blackwell made no such postings and had an extensive criminal history, including serving five years in prison on an attempted murder conviction.

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Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

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Wake for NYPD officer shot in the head while on duty

The Associated Press

BETHPAGE, N.Y. (AP) — Family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers will be mourning a New York Police Department officer at a wake on Long Island.

Visitation for Officer Brian Moore is at the Frederick J. Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage on Thursday afternoon and evening.

Moore died Monday after being shot in the head while on duty Saturday. The 25-year-old and his partner had stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun when the man opened fire on them.

Moore had been on the force for only a handful of years, but had already built up a record of more than 150 arrests and had earned meritorious service medals.

Moore's funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Friday at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford.

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Gun in officer's slaying 9th from Georgia heist found in NY

NEW YORK (AP) — A handgun used to fatally shoot a New York Police Department officer a few days ago was among 23 stolen from a Georgia pawn shop and is the ninth to be recovered on the city's streets.

Two of the handguns taken from Little's Bait & Tackle Pawn Shop in Perry, Georgia, in the middle of the night on Oct. 3, 2011, were found by police in the Bronx within a few months of that burglary during arrests that are now sealed, authorities said Tuesday.

Another was found after a police sergeant in the Bronx stopped a motorist, an arrest that led to gun and drug charges, court papers show. Five others were seized during investigations police wouldn't discuss: two in 2011, three in 2013.

The ninth weapon, a .38-caliber five-shooter, was used Saturday. Officer Brian Moore and his partner suspected Demetrius Blackwell of carrying a gun in his waistband, and they were fired at three times almost as soon as they confronted him, police said. Moore, shot in the head, died two days later.

Nell Little, a sister-in-law of Little's Bait & Tackle Pawn Shop owner Rufus Clarence Little, said she felt terrible about the gun's use in Moore's killing.

"You can't feel good about something like that," Little said. "I'm all upset about why everybody thinks cops are bad. Some are good and some are bad, but if this keeps up we're not gonna have anybody to protect us."

Police seized another handgun taken from Little's store during an arrest in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, last May, authorities said.

Firearms stolen or illegally purchased in states with less stringent gun laws than New York, mostly in the South, are regularly trafficked north through an underground black market, investigators say.

There were 4,022 such guns recovered in New York City in 2013, according to the most recent statistics available from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Little's store, which has a federal firearms license, was burglarized by two men who smashed glass countertop displays holding the guns, Perry police and Little said. There have been no arrests. A month later the shop was burglarized again, and 12 long guns and shotguns were taken, Perry police Capt. Heath Dykes said.

In December, after a mentally ill man who bragged online of killing "pigs" shot two uniformed police officers in their patrol car in Brooklyn, investigators tracked that weapon to another Georgia pawn shop 90 miles south of Perry. However, it had been legally purchased before winding up in the hands of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who killed himself in a subway station shortly after the officers' shooting.

On Tuesday, dozens of NYPD officers stood at attention as a hearse carrying Moore's body arrived at a funeral home.

"He was just the greatest guy," Moore's friend Pat Davis said outside. "He was like a brother to me."

A funeral for the 25-year-old Moore, whose cousin, father and uncle were NYPD members, will be held Friday.

Blackwell will be charged with first-degree murder, an upgraded count from attempted murder and other crimes he already faced, prosecutors said. He's being held without bail, and his attorney has denied the charges.

His cousin Kory Blackwell, who played for the New York Giants, issued a statement condemning violence.

"For years, our family tried to help Demetrius lead a more productive and law abiding life," he said. "My heart goes out to the family for their tragic loss."

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Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.