Officer, motorist shot just off Cross Island Parkway near Belmont Racetrack
Just days after Nassau County mourned the loss of a fallen police officer due to an accident on the Long Island Expressway, another brave soul’s life was cut too short.
Nassau County Police reported Tuesday, Oct. 23 that authorities apprehended the gunman responsible for the murder of Officer Arthur Lopez, 29, of Nassau Emergency Service Unit, just on the Nassau/Queens border, a stone’s throw from Belmont Racetrack. Darrell Fuller, 33, was arrested near the corner of 173rd Street and 111th Avenue in Queens, authorities stated, where he reportedly was suffering from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
Nassau Police Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki said during a press conference that a manhunt had ensued, with police from the NYPD and Nassau searching for the suspect. According to Skrynecki, at about 11 a.m. on Oct. 23, Lopez and his partner Clarence Hudson, 51, responded to an accident on Northern Boulevard, which involved a silver-colored Honda that attempted to flee the scene.
The two officers, Skrynecki stated, chased the vehicle as it traveled south on the Cross Island Parkway. Fuller went west on Jamaica Avenue and made a left turn onto 241st street, where he stopped, police said.
“The vehicle can be described as running on its rims at the time,” said Skyrnecki.
At that point, police said Lopez approached the vehicle and what followed was a “very short exchange of words,” stated Skrynecki.
Police said Fuller got out of his car after Lopez spoke to him and fired a shot, hitting the officer in the chest. Hudson attempted to aid the fallen officer, police stated.
According to Skrynecki, Lopez was not wearing a bulletproof vest at the time. Police said Hudson was in the hospital being treated for trauma but would not disclose the location.
“It’s a very sad day here in Nassau County as we just buried Police Officer Joseph Olivieri and we stand here today delivering terrible news,” County Executive Edward P. Mangano said, fighting back tears, while acknowledging highway patrolman Olivieri, 43, who was killed on Thursday, Oct. 18 while responding to an accident on the LIE.
Olivieri’s funeral was Monday, Oct. 22.
Skrynecki said that after Fuller fled the scene, he carjacked Brooklyn resident Raymond Facey and shot him once in the head and left him on the ground. Fuller abandoned the car in Queens.
“A very extensive search for this individual took place between New York City police officers and Nassau County police officers who responded to that location,” Skrynecki stated.
Lopez began as a patrol officer in the First Precinct in January 2004 and was promoted to ESU in January 2010, according to Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale. He was also a volunteer firefighter with the Dix Hills Fire Department. He is survived by his sister, father and mother.
“It’s a tragic day,” Dale said. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers as well as his partner, who was working with him at the time of the incident.”
Lopez was decorated with six meritorious police service awards, received the Excellent Police Duty Award and several command recognitions, according to Detective Vincent Garcia.
“To say this is a difficult time is an understatement,” James Carver of the Nassau County PBA said. “We’re still reeling from the loss of [Olivieri]. There’s no way to explain it, except that [Lopez] was a young man, 29 years old, just short of his 30th birthday, full of life, full of energy; great cop, a great friend.”
According to police, Fuller was charged for the fatal shootings on Thursday, Oct. 25 and additional counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.