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More Held in N.Y. Police Killings

Six men have been arrested, including the suspected shooter in the deaths of two officers. Four are charged with murder.

March 13, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Police on Wednesday arrested the man they believe gunned down two undercover detectives during a mission to buy illegal guns.

Ronell Wilson, 20, and another man, Paris Bullock, were stopped in a vehicle in Brooklyn after a three-day search that extended as far as Reading, Pa., police said.

In all, six men had been taken into custody following Monday's slayings of Rodney Andrews, 34, and James Nemorin, 36, who were shot in the head and thrown dying on a Staten Island street.

One of the suspects, Omar Green, 19, gave himself up on a Staten Island ferry Tuesday after a passenger alerted two patrol officers to a man disguised in a blond-streaked wig and stuffed bra.

The other suspects are Michael Whitten, 19, Jessie Jacobus, 17, and Mitchell Diaz.

Wilson was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday, and Diaz, Green and Jacobus were charged with second-degree murder. Charges were pending against the others, said Detective Gary Cillo, a police department spokesman.

Police said they believe Wilson was the triggerman and Green set up the gun sale.

Nemorin's gun was found in an apartment belonging to Green's mother, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Green's lawyer disputed police accounts of his client's role. "I don't agree at all that he was a central figure," attorney Andrew McGee said.

Kelly said Jacobus was inside the car when the shooting began, Whitten was involved in a prior gun sale to the detectives, and Diaz gave Wilson the murder weapon, which is missing. Police said Bullock witnessed the disposal of evidence.

"It is a terrible tragedy," Kelly said. "It sent shock waves through the department."

In Monday's undercover operation, four police backup cars dropped out of sight when one of two suspected assailants riding in the detectives' car got out to make a phone call, police said. Wilson was heard on the transmitter worrying about a Ford Explorer trailing them -- one of the backup cars, Kelly said.

The backups could not catch up again, and a miniature transceiver on one of the detectives' bodies cut out in the hilly Staten Island neighborhood, police said.

The officers, both seven-year Police Department veterans, were found fatally wounded minutes later. Investigators said they believe the officers were shot in an attempt to rob them of the $1,200 gun payment, although the money was not taken.

The police detectives' union said it had complained of problems with the transceivers, although it was unclear whether a technical problem contributed to the deaths. Kelly said he asked experts to look at the technology used by the detectives and report back in 10 days about its viability. The slain detectives were among 13 undercover officers in the city's firearms investigation unit, which seized 484 guns and arrested 89 people last year, up from 260 guns and 68 arrests in 2001, department records show.

The police identified the slain officers Wednesday. Nemorin was married with three children, ages 7, 5 and 1. Andrews had two sons, ages 11 and 12.

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