Police outside Brooklyn home where cop was shot and killed as he responded to burglary.
BROOKLYN - A decorated NYPD officer was shot in the head and killed as he responded to a robbery in Brooklyn Monday morning, police said.
The tragedy claimed the life of 22-year veteran cop Peter Figoski, who took a bullet in the left cheek at close range, police said. Figoski was shot as he stood at the bottom of a staircase leading from the street to a basement apartment at 25 Pine St. in Cypress Hills, officials said.
He had been awarded 12 medals, including eight for exceptional police duty, and made more than 200 arrests during his career.
“I’m a father of two myself and having to tell kids of any age what happened to their father or mother is one of the hardest things any mayor has to do,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at an early morning press conference at Jamaica Hospital with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Figoski was part of the back-up team of officers who responded after the building owner called 911 to report a burglary in progress in the basement about 215 a.m.
The nightmare unfolded after the owner, who lives on the first and second floors of the building, heard two burglars pounding on the basement door where a 25-year-old tenant lives, and then entering, police said.
“The tenant, an employee of a nearby bodega, said that there were two men, a male Hispanic and a male black who was wearing a ski mask,” Kelly said in a statement. “They initially claimed to be police officers, the tenant said. They then demanded money and jewelry. They knocked the tenant down, and one of the men struck him in the head with a firearm.”
The first two officers on the scene began to interview the robbery victim and his neighbor about the incident, unaware that the two criminals were cowering in a side room after failing to make a quick getaway.
The two suspects, including accused gunman Lamont Pride, 27, then made their way to the front door to escape Kelly said.
That was when they came face-to-face with Figoski, and Pride shot him in the face, police said.
The other robber made it to street level where he encountered Figoski’s partner, fficer Glenn Estrada, and a struggle ensued.
When Estrada heard the single shot ring out and saw Pride attempting to flee, he released the suspect he was grappling with and chased the shooter, cops said.
Estrada captured him after a foot pursuit of several blocks at the corner of Fulton and Chestnut Sts. police said.
“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.
A silver 9-mm. Ruger semi-automatic handgun was recovered under a parked car with 10 bullets still in the magazine.
Only one round had been fired and the shell casing had jammed in the chamber of the gun, police said.
A black ski mask was also found about 15 feet from the gun.
Figoski was rushed to Jamaica Hospital but could not be saved.
Estrada was treated there for a shoulder injury, police say.
The accomplice who got away was still being sought.
Pride has five prior arrests, including drug sale and possession, and was wanted on an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault in North Carolina, cops said.
The robbers stole inexpensive watch and $770 in cash from the tenant, who was being treated at Brookdale ospital for head injuries, police said.