Staten Island, NY

20 years after helping NYPD nab Staten Island cop killers, Candice Negron is a sergeant in slain officers’ precinct

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Candice Negron assisted law enforcement in identifying a suspect who was attempting to escape on the ferry twenty years ago when two undercover officers were murdered in Staten Island by a violent illegal gun dealer.

Currently, Negron, a sergeant with the NYPD and the daughter of a former detective, works in the same precinct as the policemen whose killers she assisted in apprehending as a citizen.

Negron, a sergeant in the 120th Precinct of Staten Island, stated, "The cycle of life took me straight back there.

On March 10, 2003, while conducting a gun-buying operation, Detective James Nemorin and Detective Rodney Andrews were both shot in the head from behind by a shooter hiding in the backs of their car.

Before leaving their bodies on the street, the gunman, Ronell Wilson, searched through their bodies for money.

The following morning, Negron was travelling by ferry to her Manhattan retail job when she spotted a man sitting across from her who resembled a suspect in a newspaper she was carrying.

The man sported a frock, crimson lipstick, high-heeled heels, and a blonde wig. Negron located a police officer and convinced him she had seen one of the suspects despite the disguise.

“I said, ‘He’s down there,’ she recalled. “I yanked his arm. ‘Either that’s him or that’s the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen.’”

According to police, Omar Green, the person Negron named, was the brains behind the gun trade that resulted in Andrews and Nemorin's execution.

As he was taken down, Jessie Jacobus and the triggerman, Wilson, were also taken into custody. According to the prosecution, Jacobus assisted Wilson in removing the dead victims from the vehicle while they were both seated in the backseat.

After an appeals court overturned his death sentence, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn decided not to retry Wilson and instead gave him a life sentence in prison.

In 2018, Jacobus, who cooperated with authorities, was granted parole.

At a meeting at Green's Stapleton Houses apartment on the morning of the murders, Jacobus, Green, Wilson, and a fourth suspect, Michael Whiten, according to his testimony, came up with the plan to stage a fictitious gun sale and then rob the buyers of the $1,300 they were supposed to be carrying to pay for a Tec-9 pistol.

Nemorin arrived with Andrews after earlier purchasing a firearm from Green and Whiten.

Yet instead of carrying out the bargain as intended, Wilson fatally shot both police officers in the head from behind, shocking and infuriating the population.

The killings left a lasting impression on Negron. In addition to having grown up in the same Staten Island housing complex as the murderer, she was also reminded of her father, retired detective Dwight Cunningham, by the killed police officers.

They genuinely looked like my father, according to Negron. "Being the daughter of a detective, that made me sad. Think about what might have happened if my father hadn't returned home.

Negron claimed, "I felt that those two individuals were related to me. They both make me think of him.

Although the murders strengthened her resolve to become a police officer, they weren’t what drove her. The seeds for that dream had been planted long before.

“I knew in high school,” Negron said. “I wanted to be like my father. I wanted to be a New York City detective.”

She was, too. Negron worked as a detective for a year before receiving a promotion to sergeant and moving to the 120th Precinct. She considers this time to be "the best time of my career."

Negron added, "I was dealing with homicide victim families, being there for folks who were going through such a loss. "I discovered a lot about doing research. It improved my professional challenge for me.

Negron now works with schools and kids that are at risk as a youth coordinating sergeant.

Although Friday’s anniversary of the murders will open old wounds for cops, detectives say they are still grateful 20 years later for the role Negron played in helping to catch the killers.

Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, declared that it was a sad day for law enforcement. She played a key role in determining the themes that connected everything. She is an honest individual. She being in our lives makes the DEA very pleased. She swore and continued in her father's footsteps.

The intersection in Tompkinsville where the bodies of Andrews, 34, and Nemorin, 36, were discovered is a place Negron frequently passes while walking. Negron still occasionally takes the ferry.

Last year, the roadways, now known as St. Paul Avenue and Hannah Street, were renamed in their honour.

Negron replied, "I pass that street frequently. "I experience an odd tummy sensation. My gut aches just from having to think about them laying there.

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