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Newark PD Stunned Over Officer's Unexplained Death

Newark PD Stunned Over Officer's Unexplained Death

The Star-Leger via YellowBrix

May 19, 2011

NEWARK — Newark police detective Natombe Simmonds was in such great shape that even the criminals he arrested had to be impressed.

Fellow detective Jermaine Marbury was with Simmonds in 2009, when their four-man squad was called to Muhammad Ali Boulevard to track down a suspected gunman. The suspect ran when he saw the officers, said Marbury, who figured the gunman would escape when he opened up a 40-yard lead on Simmonds.

But seconds later, Marbury saw Simmonds handcuffing the out-of-breath gunman, his eyes wide with shock as he faced the young detective most people called “Buck.”

“You are unbelievable, officer,” said the suspect, according to Marbury. “Any other cop and I would have had him.”

Simmonds, 24, renowned for his physical conditioning, collapsed and died while playing basketball Monday evening, sending a wave of surprise and sadness through the city police community.

“He was a very good recruit, he was physically able to do anything we tasked him with,” said Detective Hubert Henderson, a city police spokesman who trained Simmonds at the academy in 2008. “There’s no words to describe how I feel, how the majority of the officers who knew him feel.”

He was playing basketball at the police academy gym around 8 p.m when he collapsed, dying a short time later at University Hospital, authorities said. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

The city observed a moment of silence for Simmonds, who was laid off last year, during Newark’s annual police awards Tuesday afternoon.

Friends said that Simmonds was motivated to become a police officer after his brother was murdered in a gang-related incident in 2004.

“He wanted to be part of the positive solution,” said Marbury, who graduated the academy with Simmonds, and like him, was laid off last year. He is now on the Morristown police force.

Spurred on by his brother’s murder, Marbury said, Simmonds was a top recruit in the academy and was quickly chosen as one of only a handful of recruit “squad leaders.” On the streets, he was a fierce officer often praised for his ability to chase down fleeing suspects.

“Simmonds never lost nobody,” said former officer Rafael Reyes, part of Simmonds’ squad in the West Ward and who was also laid off.

A Newark native, Simmonds grew up in the South Ward before attending Essex County Vocational Tech High School with Marbury, who said Simmonds was a role model for other people living in the hardscrabble neighborhood. According to former fellow officers, he leaves behind his mother and a sister.

“The residents in Newark, they looked to Buck as the kid who made it,” Marbury said.

Officer Jared Stewart said hundreds of tearful family members, former officers, and friends flooded the hospital when news of Simmonds’ collapse began to circulate.

“He touched a lot of people,” Stewart said. “Everybody knew him. The word spread fast.”


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  • Jr_max50

    sgtlaflower

    about 3 years ago

    48 Comments

    RIP brother

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    JayRock1980

    about 3 years ago

    32 Comments

    RIP

  • 1asteriskshield_ezr_max50

    ajsdaddyBPD

    about 3 years ago

    3080 Comments

    RIP Brother, we have the watch.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    This is another sad chapter in this family's life. The young age to loose your life. I will pray for family, friends and the ones that knew him best. RIP our Brother.

  • Sparkle_girl_max50

    Katz

    about 3 years ago

    8260 Comments

    Prayers to his family and co-workers. Rest in peace Detective Natombe Simmonds.

  • Cops4christ_max50

    SpencerStangz

    about 3 years ago

    422 Comments

    sad all the way around on this one...Pray for his family...RIP

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    about 3 years ago

    6948 Comments

    if it's the 2004 homicide I'm thinking it is, Natombe's brother is possibly the guy that was killed after straightning out his life, getting married, but still was being stalked by a rival gang member. The brother pleaded for his life, had no weapon and was still shot. Don't quote me on this, I have to ask around. The lay-off of a good officer saddens me also, Very sad story all around. May Officer Simmonds be resting in peace with his brother.

  • Bike2008-22_max50

    Tbones2469

    about 3 years ago

    168 Comments

    RIP brother, I hope the department honors him on their Memorial of fallen Officers even though he was laid off.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50

    ilegworldchamp

    about 3 years ago

    8966 Comments

    Rest in Peace Sir.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    aussie4

    about 3 years ago

    5328 Comments

    God Bless Leo Simmonds and his family. It is not easy when we lose a brother, I hope the Newark PD officers dont surpress their feelings and talk to someone quickly.

  • Cruise_2014_max50

    BigNTS

    about 3 years ago

    6824 Comments

    RIP

  • 0524001248_0001_0001_max50

    PaulGreen

    about 3 years ago

    482 Comments

    RIP Detective.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    about 3 years ago

    50490 Comments

    Rest in Peace Det. Simmonds.

  • C1__67__max50

    Redsky

    about 3 years ago

    2918 Comments

    R.I.P, Detective Simmonds. We will never forget you

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    wm43552000

    about 3 years ago

    14 Comments

    Only the good die young. R.I.P. Officer Simmons

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