Four Queens men charged in cop shooting

Fellow police officers comfort Glen Estrada, Peter Figoski's partner, after Lamont Pride's arraignment. AP Photo/John Minchillo
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Four men from Woodhaven and Ozone Park with 20 prior arrests among them were nabbed Tuesday in connection with the Brooklyn murder of Police Officer Peter Figoski, police said.

Figoski was killed, allegedly by 27-year-old Brooklyn resident Lamont Pride, after he responded to a burglary in progress in East New York early Tuesday morning.

The four Queens men were charged Tuesday in connection with the murder.

One of the men, 21-year-old Michael Velez of 86-03 102nd Ave. in Ozone Park, was identified as a driver in the murder by police.

It was unclear how the other three men were allegedly involved in the killing.

Velez was arrested four previous times since 2009, including three for criminal possession of marijuana and one on attempted murder involving a knife, police said.

Velez and the three other Queens men were charged with second-degree murder in Figoski’s death and two charges of criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

Also arrested were 30-year-old Kevin Santos, of 133-16 85th St. in Woodhaven; 22-year-old Ariel Tejada, of 132-28 89th St. in Ozone Park; and 27-year-old Nelson Moralez of 97-35 84th St.

Of the four men, Santos has the lengthiest rap sheet with 11 arrests, including two for robberies and three drug-related charges, according to police.

Moralez has five prior arrests – two on drug charges, two for robbery and a DWI charge, police said.

Tejada does not have any prior arrests, police said.

Figoski was the father of four daughters and lived in West Babylon, L.I.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a fierce advocate of gun control, lashed out at a Brooklyn judge who set Pride free on bail Nov. 3 following a drug arrest despite Pride’s also facing charges in a North Carolina shooting.

“The reason he was not behind bars the last time is that a judge here in New York not only didn’t put him behind bars, she didn’t even think it was appropriate for bail,” the mayor said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 2:54 pm, December 31, 2011
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