Man accused of murdering NYPD officer found guilty
Demetrius Blackwell, 37, is convicted of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of NYPD Officer Brian Moore and faces life in prison
By Chau Lam
NEW YORK — A jury convicted a Queens man Thursday of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Brian Moore, an NYPD officer from Long Island.
The Queens district attorney’s office said the jury deliberated for two hours over two days before convicting Demetrius Blackwell in the death of Moore, 25, of Plainedge, who died two days after he was shot in the head on May 2, 2015.
The panel of five men and seven women also found Blackwell, 37, guilty of first-degree attempted murder for shooting at Moore’s partner, Officer Erik Jansen, who was not hurt, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Blackwell faces a maximum of life in prison without parole. Sentencing is set for Dec. 12.
Many of Moore’s brothers and sisters in blue packed the courtroom as the verdict was read, while a group of court officers stood around Blackwell.
Moore’s father, Raymond Moore, a retired NYPD detective sergeant, nodded his head in approval as the first-degree murder verdict was announced.
Blackwell said, “I love you,” to someone in the courtroom as a court officer escorted him out.
During the trial, Queens prosecutors said Moore was shot after he and Jansen, who were working in the anti-crime unit, became suspicious of Blackwell when they spotted him walking on a Queens Village street.
The plainclothes officers followed Blackwell briefly in their unmarked car, then pulled up to him. Moore identified himself as a police officer and showed his badge, which was hanging around his neck, according to Jansen. Jansen testified that Moore asked Blackwell if he “got something” on him.
Jansen told jurors that Blackwell responded: “Yeah. I got something.”
Within seconds, the officer said, Blackwell pulled out a handgun and fired at Moore twice, striking him once in the head. The second bullet hit the police car and a fragment of the bullet struck Moore in the face. Jansen said a third round was fired at him, but missed him.
After the verdict, Moore’s parents spoke at a news conference on the courthouse steps.
“At the end of the day I did lose my son,” said his mother, Irene Moore. “At the end of the day there was justice done for Brian’s killing, but it is a hole, and it is a void that will never, ever be filled. And, I hope that this never happens to anyone else.”
Raymond Moore called the outcome “a good verdict,” but added: “Brian is still not going to be there in my house when I get home.”
The grieving father said if he could speak to Blackwell, he’d use the same phrase that Blackwell reportedly said to his son before firing the fatal shot.
“I’d like to walk up to him and tell him, ‘Yeah. I got something’ for you, and put two bullets in his head,” he said.
Blackwell’s attorney, David Bart of Flushing, had told jurors that his client was paranoid and was not in control of his actions at the time of the shooting. The jury had considered whether Blackwell was acting under extreme emotional distress at the time of the shooting, but rejected that defense.
Queens Executive Assistant District Attorney Daniel Saunders said the case was complicated and included dense testimony, but judging from the speed of the verdict, he said, jurors understood it.
“Their resounding verdict, and embracing the testimony, especially of the surviving partner, Jansen, sends a message, I hope, that there are severe consequences to the murder of a New York City police officer,” Saunders said. “And hopefully every police officer in the city of New York is a little safer by virtue of their verdict today.”