Investigators look over the area after a few New York City police officers were shot while responding to a robbery at a T-Mobile store in the Queens borough of New York on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (Photo- Kevin Hagen, AP)
Associated Press

A New York City police detective has been killed in a “friendly fire” incident while responding to reports of an armed robbery at a mobile phone shop.

Brian Simonsen, 42, a 19-year veteran of the force, was hit in the chest and declared dead at hospital, said police commissioner James O’Neill.

He is the first New York police officer to die in the line of duty since July 2017.

Another detective was shot in the leg but was said to be in a stable condition and the suspect, described as a “career criminal”, was shot multiple times and taken to hospital.

The shooting happened at a T-Mobile store in the Richmond Hill area of Queens at around 6pm on Tuesday.

Mr Simonsen and the other detective had entered the shop and saw the suspect pointing a gun at them but as they took cover were shot by other police, the New York Post reported.

An “imitation firearm” was found at the scene, said Commissioner O’Neill.

He tweeted: “Our hearts are broken again, because a career criminal put lives in jeopardy.

“Det Brian Simonsen, 42, was a 19-year-veteran of the #NYPD. He lost his life fighting crime & keeping safe all the people we serve. The sympathies of all New Yorkers are with his family & colleagues.”

The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, tweeted that the detective’s death was a “painful night for New York City”.

“We will never forget him or his sacrifice. We will be there for his family and his fellow officers tonight, tomorrow and every day after that,” he said.

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