New York ‘Comedian’ Wielding a Fake Gun Gets 33 Years for Friendly Fire Death of NYPD Detective

A New York man has been sentenced to 33 years in prison and another five years of post-release supervision for the manslaughter of an NYPD detective who died of friendly fire during a “prank gone horribly wrong” in 2019.

Christopher Ransom pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and robbery for his role in the incident that left 42-year-old Det. Brian Simonsen dead.

Though the 29-year-old “appeared more concerned with his comedy career than his criminal case” during a 2019 interview with the Daily News, he struck a much different tone during his sentencing.

“I am the author of the chain of events that led to the death of Detective Simonsen and for that I am deeply sorry,” Ransom said on Wednesday. “I would like forgiveness but I would not dare ask of it, I would not put that burden on the late detective’s loved ones.”

Ransom, a self-described “shock-value comic” and “entertainer,” told police he never meant to rob a T-Mobile store with a fake Colt handgun on Feb. 12, 2019. The “prank” was being videotaped by a friend and they planned to post it online, according to Ransom.

SEE ALSO: YouTuber Shot, Killed After Going After Armed Tennessee Man in Fake Robbery

But when police arrived a short time after the incident began, they had no idea Ransom’s Colt was a replica. So, when he started running towards them, they opened fire.

Seven officers fired a total of 42 shots during the incident and struck Ransom eight times. He survived, but Simonsen was struck fatally in the chest, and the detective’s partner, Sgt. Matthew Gorman, was wounded.

Investigators said in the weeks after the incident that they were not able to determine who fired the bullet that killed Simonsen. “The ballistics examination was inconclusive,” an NYPD spokesman told ABC News, and body camera and surveillance footage revealed multiple officers who were in position to have fired the shot.

Ransom managed to plea down his murder charge, but prosecutors pointed out that his “pranks” were all too real. Just a few days before this incident, Ransom held up another T-Mobile store and bagged $3,000, which he planned to split with his partner, Jagger Freeman.

SEE ALSO: Former Marine Halts Armed Robbery at a Yuma Gas Station

A criminal complaint also alleged that Ransom and Freeman scored $1,000 and 25 iPhones from the incident that led to Simonsen’s death.

This isn’t the first time a “fake robbery” has resulted in death. Earlier this year, a would-be YouTube star was shot and killed in Nashville after he approached a man carrying a concealed handgun in what police described as a “robbery prank” gone wrong.

The judge told Ransom he got the audience he was after.

“None of them are here to cheer you on, they’re here to watch you be removed from society until the point where you only exist in the far end of their memories,” said Judge Kenneth Holder at the sentencing hearing.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

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