Memorial Honors Fallen Detective

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Queens, NY

By Tim Harfmann

All day long, Richmond Hill, Queens residents stopped by the 102nd NYPD precinct to pay their respects to Detective Brian Simonsen. “All these guys are such good guys. These guys lookout for the community so much. And it was so heartbreaking to hear that,” said Justin Sarabjeet, a local resident. Flowers, candles, and balloons were part of the growing memorial. Haydee Venn stopped to pray. “This is very painful for the community, especially for me, because we have a lot of respect for the officials,” said Venn, who remembered seeing Simonsen around the community he served. “He was a very nice, very nice person. He listened to the people,” said Venn.

The 42-year-old was a 19-year veteran of the department. A Mass of Christian burial will be held February 20th at 10 a.m. at Saint Rosalie Church in Hampton Bays, Long Island.

The loss hits the Richmond Hill community especially hard. Father Christopher Heanue ministers to Catholics at Holy Child Jesus Church, located blocks from the precinct. “As a priest, you feel a sense of fatherly care, pastoral care that you should have for your local precinct.”So Father Heanue and other worshipers escorted students from the parish’s Catholic academy to the memorial, leaving cards and flowers. “It was difficult to see that it was so close, and then to hear that it was a police officer from our own precinct — in our parish boundary — was difficult to hear, as well,” said Father Heanue. “Years ago, the policeman was your friend. We don’t get that as much anymore. We’d say, ‘good day, officer. Good morning, officer. Nice day.’ We want the kids to realize that the police are your friends, and look at the tremendous sacrifice that they do make,” said Maria Turner. She is a parishioner at Holy Child Jesus Church.

Detective Simonsen was shot by friendly fire on February 13th while responding to reports of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store in Richmond Hill. Residents said they’ll never forget Simonsen’s sacrifice. “Somebody gave their life to protect someone in this neighborhood, a store owner in this neighborhood,” said Turner. “This community is standing behind them 100 percent,” said Sarabjeet.

Holy Child Jesus Church will honor Detective Simonsen with a Memorial Mass on Saturday, February 23rd at 5 p.m. The church is located at 111-11 86th avenue in Richmond Hill, Queens. The Simonsen family asked people to donate to the Healing Haven Animal Foundation in lieu of flowers. You can go online to and click on the donate button