Four Queens men charged in Bklyn cop’s slaying

Michael Velez (l. to r.), Nelson Morales, Kevin Santos, Lamont Pride and Ariel Tejada appear in Brooklyn Supreme Court to face charges in the murder of Police Officer Peter Figoski. AP Photo/John Roca, Pool
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Four Ozone Park men were indicted Tuesday in the murder of a police officer who was shot and killed during a robbery last week in Brooklyn, the Kings County district attorney’s office said.

The four men had 20 prior arrests among them.

Police Officer Peter Figoski was killed, allegedly by 27-year-old Brooklyn resident Lamont Pride, after he responded to a burglary in progress in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, in the morning Dec. 12.

The four Queens men were charged that day in connection with the murder, police said, and they were indicted on those charges Tuesday, Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes said.

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, police said.

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.; 22-year-old Ariel Tejada, of 132-28 89th St.; and 27-year-old Nelson Moralez, of 97-35 84th St., police said.

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.

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

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 3:03 am, December 22, 2011
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Reader feedback

Gene Ralno from Prosper says:
Right. Round up the usual suspects. And of course after a respectable few minutes, bond them out. Then it's on to disarming the guys who didn't do it. Bloomberg is a fool who "lashes out" at the judges and the perps but takes action against HIS subjects. Are we awake yet?
Dec. 21, 2011, 11:53 am
Rick D from Bellerose Manor says:
There should be an investigation into the landlord of this building at 25 Pine St in Brooklyn where the officer was killed.

The Dept of Buildings, acting upon several complaints, has still not been able to access the building to investigate the alleged subdividing of the floors and an illegal cellar apartment. The building has over $25,000 in fines levied against it for illegal construction.

It's actions like this that help create the environment that led to this shooting.
Dec. 24, 2011, 8:12 am

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