4 more in custody after NYC officer's death

By Tom Hays

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Police officers stand near a crime scene where a police officer was shot in the Cypress Hills section of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. Officials say the officer later died after he was shot in the face while responding to a break-in at a Brooklyn apartment.

Seth Wenig, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

NEW YORK — Four more suspects have been taken into custody following the deadly shooting of a New York City police officer who was responding to a break-in in Brooklyn, authorities said Tuesday.

They include a man who had struggled with an officer at the shooting scene on Monday. They also include two people who were initially believed to be witnesses, plus a suspected getaway driver, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

Officer Peter Figoski was shot in the face early Monday.

Two years after he could have retired from police work with a full pension, Figoski was responding to a routine call — backing up other officers checking out a report of an apartment break-in in Brooklyn.

He was met by a fleeing suspect who shot the 22-year police veteran in the face and killed him, police said.

While Figoski's partner chased down the suspected gunman, police were still looking for a second suspect in what they said might have been a drug-related holdup and became the first deadly shooting of an officer this year.

Lamont Pride, 27, was arrested on murder charges. There was no answer to calls at a Greensboro, N.C., address where he told police he lived, and no phone listed for a Brooklyn home. It's wasn't clear when he would be arraigned, and there was no information on whether he had an attorney.

Figoski's career included more than 200 arrests and 12 medals — one of them an exceptional merit award for coming under fire in a brush with a man who would later be convicted as the city's notorious Zodiac Killer of the early 1990s.

He was part of a backup team of officers who responded around 2:15 a.m., after a landlord reported a break-in to a barely finished basement apartment in the East New York section of Brooklyn, police said.

The two suspects had tried to flee through the back of the long, narrow apartment, but they couldn't find a way out and were hiding in a side room full of tools as officers walked past them and started to interview the tenant and a neighbor. They were trying to escape through the front when they ran into Figoski, police said. He was shot once at so close a range his gold collar insignia flew off. A handprint, possibly the suspect's, was found in a pool of blood.

Figoski's partner of three years, Glenn Estrada, was struggling with the second suspect in front of the house when he heard the shot and saw the shooter take off, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. Estrada chased after Pride for blocks before capturing him, Kelly said. Estrada, a decorated 15-year veteran, was treated for a shoulder injury.

"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," Kelly said.

Figoski was taken to a hospital, where he died about five hours later. The 47-year-old officer was a divorced father of four daughters: Carolyn, 16, and Corrine, 14, both in high school, and Christine, 20, and Caitlyn, 18, who are in college upstate. Kelly and State Police Lt. Michael Greco arranged to have them flown by helicopter to Albany, N.Y., and then by state police plane to Kennedy Airport so they could be with their father.

His brother Robert Figoski is a retired police officer, and his brother-in-law is currently an officer.

"It is a family that has dedicated its lives to making this city safe," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The Brooklyn tenant told police he heard the suspects pounding on the basement door, claiming to be police. They got in and demanded money, pistol-whipped him and took $770 in cash and a watch, police said.

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