By MICHAEL BALSAMO
NEW YORK (AP) — Officer Brian Moore, the son, nephew and cousin of police officers, had already started carving out a promising career for himself at the New York Police Department, making more than 150 arrests and earning service medals in less than five years on the job.
That trajectory came to an end on Monday, when the 25-year-old was pronounced dead at a Queens hospital, two days after being shot in the head by a man with an extensive criminal record, including serving five years in prison on an attempted murder conviction.
Moore had been in a coma after undergoing brain surgery following the Saturday evening shooting. He died with his family, including his police officer relatives, at his bedside.
Hundreds of uniformed officers stood at attention outside the medical center and lined up down the block to salute the ambulance carrying his body out. Afterward, many could be seen crying and consoling one another.
“He proved himself to be an exceptional young officer,” Police Commissioner William Bratton said, noting Moore’s arrest record and medals. Moore joined the department in 2010.
Moore and his partner were in plainclothes and in an unmarked police car when they approached Demetrius Blackwell in a quiet Queens neighborhood after they saw him adjusting his waistband, a move that made them suspicious he had a handgun, authorities said.
The officers pulled up next to Blackwell, 35, and exchanged words before the man suddenly turned, pulled out a weapon and fired at least twice at them, striking Moore in the head and face, according to court documents.
Blackwell will be charged with first-degree murder, prosecutors said.
He was charged earlier with attempted murder and other crimes. He is being held without bail and has not entered a plea. His attorney has denied the charges.
Investigators discovered the five-shot silver Taurus used in the shooting under a box near a backyard grill along the route Blackwell fled following the shooting, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
The gun, which had two live rounds still in the chamber, was one of 23 weapons reported stolen in October 2011 from a bait and tackle shop in Perry, Georgia, he said. Ten of those weapons have since been recovered — nine of them in in New York.
Mayor Bill de Blasio mourned Moore’s death.
“He risked his life for a very simple notion — to keep everyone else safe, to keep our society safe, to keep order,” the mayor said at a news conference. “This is what he wanted to do.”
Flags at police headquarters flew at half-staff.
Moore is the first city officer to be killed on duty since two uniformed police officers were slain in December in Brooklyn.
Officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, were shot at close range as they were sitting in their patrol car on Dec. 20. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, then ran into a nearby subway station and fatally shot himself.
Before the ambush, Brinsley posted on an Instagram account that he was planning to shoot two “pigs” in retaliation for Eric Garner’s death in police chokehold.
Officials have said Blackwell made no such postings.
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