By Janny Scott And William K. Rashbaum, The New York Times
Police said today that they had arrested two more suspects - the
fourth and fifth - in connection with the fatal shootings of two
undercover New York City detectives in Staten Island on Monday night.
Both suspects were taken into custody in the Red Hook section of
Brooklyn, the police said. A senior official said one of the
suspects, Ronell Wilson, 20, of Staten Island, had been identified as
the gunman by his conspirators. The other man arrested today, Paris
Bullock, may have seen one of the suspects leave bloody clothes and
one of the detectives' guns at an apartment, investigators said.
On Tuesday morning, just hours after the failed undercover gun-buying
operation, Omar Green, a 19-year-old high school senior, was arrested
aboard a Manhattan-bound Staten Island Ferry despite his disguise of
a wig, lipstick and a stuffed bra.
A passenger had told two officers that she had passed someone who was
"either a guy or the ugliest woman" and who was acting suspiciously.
When the police went looking for someone fitting that description,
they said, they found Mr. Green in disguise on the upper deck.
Two other suspects were taken into custody separately - Jesse
Jacobus, 16, and Michael Whiten, 19, who was charged in connection
with an earlier gun sale to one of the detectives.
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the two detectives were
killed while on their way to a gun sale with two suspected associates
of Mr. Green in the detectives' leased car. The detectives lost
contact with four undercover police cars trailing them when a hidden
wireless transmitter being worn by one of the detectives failed to
work in the hilly Staten Island terrain, Mr. Kelly said.
The killing of the detectives was the first instance in more than 13
years in which two New York police officers were fatally shot on the
job on the same day. Police officials identified the detectives
killed Monday night as James V. Nemorin, 36, and Rodney J. Andrews,
34. Their deaths seemed especially shocking at a time when the murder
rate remains lower than it has been for decades and the city's
attention is consumed by fears of terrorism and possible war.
"Let me just point out that the City Police Department devotes an
enormous amount of its effort to getting guns off the street," Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg said at a news conference. "Unfortunately, just
when you think you're making progress, something like this happens."
Mr. Green was suspended from New Dorp High School in October and had
not been seen at the school since Nov. 26, Deputy Mayor Dennis M.
Walcott said. Mr. Green lives with his mother, Bertha Green, a
12-year-old sister and a 1-year-old brother in an eight-story brick
building at 67 Warren Street in the Stapleton Houses, a housing
project in Tompkinsville. It was at Ms. Green's apartment that
investigators say Mr. Green may have sought to hide the officers' gun
and bloodied clothing.
On Tuesday, friends and neighbors described Mr. Green as a lover of
video games and sports, "a well-mannered kid" and, one said, "like a
big brother of the 'hood." But an uncle, Lawrence Black, 32, said Mr.
Green had changed. "I saw him on the street and it seemed he didn't
really care for life anymore," Mr. Black said. "I don't know what
caused him to snap."
Cynthia Whiten, an aunt of Michael Whiten, said her nephew had once
lived in the Stapleton Houses. She said he graduated from Susan
Wagner High School in June and was attending a college she declined
to name. She and one of her sisters said Mr. Whiten admired sports
and girls. "I'm in shock," Ms. Whiten said. "He wouldn't do anything
Mr. Green's mother and his grandfather, who identified himself only
as Abdul, said last night that he was innocent. They complained that
the police had ransacked their apartment in what they said was
retaliation for the detectives' deaths.
"We are sorry for everything that has happened," Abdul said. "But
everybody is suffering now. I'm hurting right now. That's my
Mr. Green was arrested on firearms charges in 1999 with five other
people, one official said, and another official said he was charged
with felony drug possession in July 2000. The second official said
Mr. Wilson was arrested on a robbery charge in March 2000. The
outcomes of those cases was not known.
The detectives were shot during an undercover sting operation, the
police said. The detectives, one carrying $1,200, had gone to the
Stapleton Houses to buy a Tec-9 semiautomatic pistol, a weapon
favored by drug dealers. There, they are believed to have spoken by
cellphone with Mr. Green.
Then two other men, who a senior police official said were believed
to have been Mr. Wilson and Mr. Jacobus, emerged from the building
and got in the back seat of the detectives' car. With the undercover
cars trailing, they drove to Victory Boulevard and Corson Avenue,
where they pulled over. One of the men in the back seat, whom the
official identified as Mr. Wilson, got out.
The backup police cars kept their distance so they would not be
noticed, Mr. Kelly said. The man who had gotten out of the
detectives' car then returned and the car moved on. But because of
what Mr. Kelly described as the rolling terrain in the area, the
backup cars lost contact with the detectives.
"This is not unusual," he said of the transmitter's failure. "They
have low wattage and they don't have that great a transmission range,
and when you get into hilly locations it's difficult to transmit."
The transmission was recorded, and while the tape ends before the
shootings, it shows that the relationship between the undercover
detectives and the men from whom they sought to buy the gun had begun
to deteriorate, a police official said. One of the gun dealers
insisted on searching one detective, who protested, saying the man
had not tried to search him during their previous meeting, the
One of the men told investigators after his arrest that the men had
planned to rob the detectives, doubting their street smarts because
they had come from Brooklyn to Staten Island to buy a gun, the
Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical
examiner's office, said both detectives had been shot in the back of
the head. The bodies of the detectives, both fathers and seven-year
veterans of the force, were found dumped near Hannah Street and St.
Pauls Avenue. None of the $1,200 in cash had been taken.
Asked if there was any indication that the men in the car had known
that they were with police detectives, Mr. Kelly said: "There's no
indication at this time that that's the case. We have reason to
believe that this was intended to be a robbery." Asked why the money
might have been left behind, he said, "Well, panic." According to one
law enforcement official, the two men in the back seat started to
leave the car after the shootings, then returned, dragged the
detectives' bodies out and drove away. The police later found the
car, soaked with blood, and caught one of the men leaving it.
When Mr. Green was arrested, he was wearing a dark brown wig with
blond highlights, black jeans, a black shirt and the bra, the police
said. Asked for his name, he gave a false identity in a phony female
voice, then eventually gave his name.
The police have offered a $54,000 reward for any information leading
to the arrest and conviction of the killer of the two detectives and
asked anyone with information to call (800) 577-TIPS or (800)
COP-SHOT. They said all information would be kept confidential.
"Both of them, according to everybody, loved their jobs and were just
dedicated public servants who unfortunately paid a terrible price to
protect the rest of us," Mr. Bloomberg said of the two officers at
the news conference earlier in the day. "And our hearts go out to