NYPD officer dead after being shot in the face during B’klyn burglary call
A decorated NYPD cop was killed this morning after a gun-toting burglar shot him in cold blood inside a Brooklyn apartment building, police said.
Officer Peter Figoski, a 22-year veteran, responded to a “burglary in progress” at 25 Pine Street in Cypress Hills at 2:15 a.m. and was confronted by career criminal Lamont Pride, 27, police said.
After the landlord called 911, Pride, 27, and a cohort initially hid from the first responding officers and were attempting to make their escape when Figoski and his partner surprised the thugs, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Without hesitation, Pride allegedly shot Figoski, 47, once in the face and took off on foot.
Figoski’s partner, Glenn Estrada, 42, tussled with Pride’s cohort, who has not been identified, nearby. But he then chased after Pride, slapping the cuffs on him several blocks away on Chestnut Street and Fulton Street, police said.
The second suspect got away and is still at large. Cops, meanwhile, are questioning a man who admits to being at the scene at the time. But law enforcement sources don’t believe he’s the second suspect.
“I want to commend Officer Estrada, who had the presence of mind to focus on the man with the gun, and the courage to chase him down and capture him,” said Kelly.
Figoski was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Mayor Bloomberg said he was woken up at 4 a.m. and told about the shooting.
“No one had any expectation [Figoski] would make it,” the mayor said.
At a news conference, a somber Bloomberg, who had to notify Figoski’s family of the incident, said cop shootings are “the worst part about being mayor.”
Bloomberg added, “I also met with Officer Figoski’s former wife Paulette, and two of their daughters Carolyn, 16, and Corrine, 14, here at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, and thanked them on behalf of a deeply grateful New York City.”
Figoski has two other daughters, Christine, 20, and Caitlyn, 18, who are both college students upstate.
“Four daughters. I’m the father of two myself and having to tell kids of any age what happened to their father or mother is, without a doubt, the hardest thing any mayor ever has to do,” Bloomberg added.
At 11:45 a.m., Figoski’s body was removed from the hospital as relatives and nearly 200 cops exited the building and gathered outside a rear exit.
The body was placed in an ambulance as the officers stood at attention. The family got into a separate vehicle.
“Now it’s our chance and our opportunity to say thank you to the family and to step in where he would have been,” said PBA President Pat Lynch.
The incident that led to the deadly shooting began when the two thugs wearing ski masks pounded on the door to a basement apartment occupied by a 25-year-old tenant.
When the occupant went to investigate, the assailants said they were cops, demanded cash and jewelry and knocked the tenant down with a blow to the head with a firearm.
The suspects swiped an inexpensive watch and $770 in cash.
Police recovered a silver 9mm Ruger semi-automatic from under a parked car near the area where Pride was taken into custody.
The accomplice is still at large.
In 2009, Pride, who has five prior arrests, was found guilty of armed robbery in Guilford County, NC and sentenced to 13 to 16 months. He was released from prison on October 25, 2010, authorities said.
Bloomberg, an outspoken gun control advocate, said the gun used to kill Figoski was purchased illegally.
“These guns are bought and used to kill people and you saw that this morning,” he said.
“There have to be guns taken off the streets. … It has to be done now,” added Lynch.
Neighbors of Figoski, who lived in West Babylon, said the officer loved to work in his yard.
Helen Krebs, 45, said, “It’s shocking news. He was a wonderful neighbor. He was a great man. His daughters would babysit for my [5-year-old] son.
“He was a wonderful guy. I felt comforted that he was my neighbor.”
Another neighbor, Joe DiPietro, called the officer “a family man.”
“I’m just devastated,” he said. “He was a nice guy.”
Richard Waszmer, a retired Nassau County cop, said his son-in-law Glenn Estrada loved being an officer.
He said Estrada has served most of his time in the 75th precinct, which Waszmer called “probably the worst” in the city.
“I guess he was comfortable in there. I can’t really speak for him, everybody has their reasons. [Glenn] just talked about the job. He liked the job. He wouldn’t be on it if he didn’t.”
Figoski is the second cop this year that was killed in the line of duty.
In March, Officer Alain Schaberger fell off a stoop and broke his neck, while responding to a domestic violence call in Brooklyn.
Additional reporting by Kieran Crowley, Ikimulisa Livingston and Julia Marsh