WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
The man accused of killing a NYC police officer was arraigned in a Brooklyn court Tuesday night and remanded without bail.
Lamont Pride appeared in the packed courtroom shackled and wearing a white jumpsuit. He had no reaction and did not speak in court.
Prosecutor Kenneth Taub said that a group had planned to rob a small time marijuana dealer. Taub called Pride the muscle of the group and alleged that when officer Peter Figoski blocked his exit, Pride made the decision to kill Figoski rather than conform and be arrested.
Pride's four co-defendants were also arraigned on second-degree murder charges and held without bail. According to Taub, statue states that every person who participates knowingly in a crime bares responsibility for each of their partners.
The defense attorneys for the four did not speak after the arraignment, but said in court that they would make bail arguments on Friday when they make an appearance before a grand jury.
Five suspects were arrested in the slaying of Figoski on Tuesday after he and his partner responded to a burglary on Monday that was the site of an alleged drug dealer being ripped off by a "career criminal, Commissioner Ray Kelly told WNYC.
"I'm very proud of the detectives involved in this case," Kelly said. "I mean, this was an all-out effort, 24 hour intensive investigation and effort, and I think the results speak for themselves."
Pride, of Greensboro, N.C., was arrested Monday and identified as the alleged shooter. He had an outstanding violent felony warrant in North Carolina and more recent drug-related arrests in the city.
He allegedly planned to rob an suspected drug dealer of cash and marijuana, Kelly said.
"He should not have been out on the street," Kelly said. "He should've, ideally, been extradited to North Carolina. But that didn't happen."
Among those arrested is suspect Kevin Santos, 30, of Queens who allegedly was struggling with Figoski's partner, officer Glenn Estrada, while Pride allegedly shot Figoski in the face.
"We initially thought that two other individuals at the scene were good samaritans helping the victim but we now know they were involved in the robbery," Kelly said.
Figoski, 47, and spent his entire 22-year career at the busy 75th precinct in Brooklyn, where the mood was "very somber," according to Lt. John Tennant. He described Figoski as "a dedicated officer" who was "very well liked."
"In the case of officer Figoski, it robbed his daughters of a caring father and this department and East New York of a great police officer," Kelly told reporters Tuesday.
Figoski was called a role model by Precinct Commander Inspector Jeffrey Maddrey, who told WNYC Figoski had worked midnights since 2002 to spend more time with his four daughters.
On Tuesday, police continued to comb the residential block of two-story row houses in Cypress Hills where Figoski was shot.
Detectives in evidence gathering slippers retraced the steps of the alleged suspects outside 25 Pine Street, the basement apartment police believe was the scene of a drug proceed robbery interrupted by police responding to a 911 call of a burglary in progress.
With reporting from Arun Venugopal and Cindy Rodriguez