Hundreds of bikers are hitting the road today to honor fallen NYPD Detective and Calverton native Brian Simonsen, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this year.
It marks the first annual Brian Simonsen Motorcycle Run. As News 12 has reported, the 42-year-old was shot and killed by friendly fire while responding to an armed robbery in Queens back in February.
Simonsen is one of two members of the NYPD killed by friendly fire this year. Detective Brian Mulkeen was killed by police bullets one week ago, while struggling with an armed suspect in the Bronx.
Sunday’s ride is not about how Simonsen died — it’s instead a celebration of the way he lived. He’s remembered as someone with a kind personality, whose nickname was “Smiles,” because friends and former co-workers say he always wore a big smile on his face.
Several of Simonsen’s former partners were taking part in Sunday’s event. They say the precinct where they work will never be the same without him, and they’re making sure to keep his memory alive.
“He got he name Smiles for a reason, always smiling even through the worst of times,” says Khalid Ragab, Simonsen’s former partner. “He was very close to us, very close to our hearts, and we just want to make sure more than anything else that his name, Smiles, is never forgotten.”
The bikers are riding from a Harley Davidson shop in Oakdale to downtown Riverhead, remembering Simonsen all along the way. The proceeds will go to the Brian Simonsen Foundation, which supports education in the Riverhead community.