The robbery suspect who touched off a police shooting that took the life of an NYPD detective was hit with charges including murder and manslaughter on Wednesday.
Christopher Ransom, a 27-year-old homeless man, was charged with murder, aggravated manslaughter, robbery, assault and menacing, authorities said.
Ransom was shot eight times after lunging at police with a fake gun while robbing a cellphone store in Richmond Hill, Queens, on Tuesday night.
He is being treated at a hospital, police said.
Seven police officers who responded to the scene shot 42 rounds at Ransom when he advanced toward them, police said.
During the melee, 19-year NYPD veteran Brian Simonsen was shot in the stomach by a fellow officer and later died at Jamaica Hospital.
Sgt. Matthew Gorman was also shot, but is expected to recover from his injury.
Ransom was hit with the murder charge even though he didn’t fire a shot because Simonsen’s death happened during the robbery attempt.
A defendant can be charged with felony murder whenever a homicide occurs in the commission of a serious crime, even if they weren’t directly culpable, explained Michael C. Farkas, a former city homicide prosecutor now in private practice.
“If the suspect was in the course of the commission of a robbery, and during that robbery someone is killed, it seems like this situation would call for a charge of felony murder,” said Farkas.
Added Mark Bederow, another city prosecutor-turned-defender, “Given the fact that causation is defined as conduct which forges a critical link in the chain of events that led to the detective’s death, it sounds like Mr. Ransom is in serious trouble.”
Additional reporting by Ben Feuerherd