A retired New York City police officer testified Wednesday that he used his cell phone to record a police pursuit and the fatal shooting of a Nassau County police officer before following the accused killer into a Queens neighborhood.
Robert Mancini was off-duty that morning in October 2012 when he spotted a Nassau County emergency service vehicle pursuing a damaged car on the Cross Island Parkway. “The wheels were all sort of blown out and the bumper was hanging off the back,” the 21-year veteran officer said of a gold Honda sedan that was being followed by police. He said it soon “became apparent they were trying to pull him over” and that’s when Mancini pulled out his cell phone and started to record video.
Testifying as a prosecution witness in the first-degree murder trial of Darrell Fuller, Mancini said the sedan refused to stop and accelerated before heading to an exit ramp at Jamaica and Braddock avenues. As the car pulled off the parkway, the police truck followed, and so did Mancini – in his personal car – still rolling video. After the vehicle turned onto a side road, Mancini saw the driver out of his car with a gun in his hand – and seconds later saw the officer staggering back to the police vehicle, he said. That’s when the recording – which does not show the actual shooting – stops.
“He just shot a Nassau County cop,” Mancini is heard saying in a subsequent 911 call that was played for jurors Wednesday. “I’ve been trying to follow this guy … I can’t get too close; I’m not armed.”
Prosecutors have alleged Fuller was out of his vehicle when Police Officer Arthur Lopez approached him with a Taser. Fuller then allegedly opened fire from about five feet away, prosecutors said. Lopez, who was not wearing a bulletproof vest, died from his injuries.
Mancini said he continued following the driver back onto the parkway after the shooting, where he said he saw a man – who he later identified as Fuller – approach a car that had pulled to the side of the road. Prosecutors have alleged Fuller killed that man, Raymond Facey, 58, during a carjacking. Fuller is alleged to have taken the car and fled to a residential neighborhood.
In the 911 call, Mancini is heard telling the dispatcher that Fuller allegedly ditched the car in Queens Village and that the he has the suspect in sight. He later said he lost the man, but spotted him again in a different sweatshirt. At a police lineup the next day, he identified Fuller as the suspect.
Another witness who testified Wednesday, Cornel Sylvester, a 55-year-old mechanic from Queens, said he saw Facey being pulled out of his car and thought he had been killed. He also pursued the suspect into the same Queens neighborhood. He said he did not see the suspect’s face and could not identify Fuller in a lineup. Testimony in the case continues Friday.