A jury found a man guilty of second-degree murder but not guilty on the most serious charge in the killing of a veteran police officer who was responding to a burglary call in Brooklyn.
Lamont Pride was also found guilty Monday of burglary and second-degree manslaughter after the December 2011 death of Officer Peter Figoski, 47. He faces 25 years to life in prison.
Pride had insisted the shooting was an accident, while prosecutors said Pride meant to kill Figoski. Prosecutors had to prove intent to convict on the top charge of first-degree murder.
When the verdict was read, officers who packed the courtroom gasped. The slain officer's mother covered her mouth.
"For Lamont, this was the best-case scenario," said defense attorney James Koenig, adding that he was glad the jury concluded that his client didn't mean to kill the officer. But "this was not a victory for anyone. It's a tragedy all around."
The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said it was outraged and sickened by the failure to convict on the top count.
'The killer brought a gun to a robbery, racked a round into its chamber to be certain that he could fire it at any point during the crime and he used it to kill a man who was a great cop and great father in order to escape," PBA President Patrick Lynch said. "If that doesn’t demonstrate intent, then it is hard to imagine what does."
Figoski, a 22-year veteran of the NYPD and father of four daughters, confronted Pride outside of a home in East New York. He was shot in the face and died at the hospital hours later.
Prosecutors said Pride was part of a group of men who went to the East New York residence to rob a drug dealer.
In video recordings obtained by NBC New York's I-Team last year, Pride says he fell down while trying to escape and the gun accidentally went off.
Pride had previous arrests in New York on drug charges. He was also wanted in North Carolina in connection with a shooting at the time of Figoski's death.