Officer Brian Moore, 25, was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital, where he had been fighting for his life since Demetrius Blackwell, 35, opened fire on him near 212th Street and 104th Road about 6:15 p.m. Saturday, police said.
“He was an extraordinary young man. It’s a great loss to his family, a great loss to this department and a great loss to this city,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said during a somber press conference outside the hospital.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that charges against Blackwell would be upgraded to first-degree murder, which carries a life sentence.
— Chief Joanne Jaffe (@NYPDCommAffairs) May 4, 2015
Moore, who came from a police family and made more than 150 arrests since joining the NYPD in 2010, had been on life support after the shooting which caused major bleeding in his brain, sources said.
“We were just upstairs with a family that’s devastated, a police family, a father and an uncle and nephews and cousins all proudly wear the uniform of New York City police officers and law enforcement that surround us,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said outside the hospital.
Moore worked with the 105th Precinct‘s Anti-Crime unit and had also earned two medals for exceptional police service along with another two for meritorious police service, officials said.
Bratton visited Jamaica Hospital about 12:30 p.m. and mourners began to pay their respects at Moore’s old stationhouse about an hour later. One man donated three pies to the officers there and a weeping woman placed a bouquet near its entrance.
While many in the police community were deeply saddened, Moore’s colleagues in the 105th were hit especially hard by his death, having attended a funeral for another officer from their precinct Monday morning, Bratton said.
Moore’s funeral was expected to take place later in the week, officials said.
Moore and his partner were in an unmarked police car and drove up beside Blackwell who then drew a revolver from his waistband and fired on them, police said. Moore’s partner was not hit, officials said.
The suspect into a nearby alley and ditched the revolver, police said. Investigators finally found the gun Monday morning in a backyard, sources said.
Blackwell was arrested nearby after the shooting and arraigned on charges of attempted murder, attempted assault on a police officer, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
He has multiple arrests stretching back to 1995, for crimes including assault, robbery, weapons possession, police said.
He was convicted of attempted murder after shooting at a car in July 2000, according to prison records. He spent the next five years behind bars, records show.
He was released in August 2005, but then violated parole and returned to prison March 2007 for another year-long stretch, records show.
Police officials and their supporters urged New Yorkers to keep Moore and the rest of the NYPD in their thoughts.
Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed the sentiment in his statement regarding the death.
“During this tragic time, New Yorkers must come together to support the Moore family in any way we can, and on behalf of a grateful city, Chirlane and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Moore family and to the entire NYPD family,” the mayor said.
With reporting by Katie Honan and Danielle Tcholakian