The DEA Honor Roll
Official Line of Duty Deaths
Rodney J. Andrews
Shield Number: 1034
Command: OCCB - Firearms Investigation Unit
Date of Death: 03/10/2003
Cause of Death: Shot during a firearms undercover buy and bust operation
Approximately 8:00 p.m. on March 10, 2003, Detectives Rodney Jay Andrews and James V. Nemorin were shot and killed during an undercover, illegal firearms buy and bust operation while assigned to the Firearms Investigation Unit, part of the Organized Crime Control Bureau. They were riding in their leased Nissan Maxima with two, young thugs: 17-year-old Jessie Jacobus and 20-year-old Ronell Wilson, who were associates of a 19-year-old illegal gun dealer named Omar Green. The Detectives were going to purchase a Tech 9 submachine gun from Green who previously sold firearms to the FID unit. They were at St. Paul’s Avenue and Hannah Street in the Tomkinsville section of Staten Island when Wilson drew a .44-caliber handgun and shot Det. Andrews, who was sitting in the passenger seat. Then he shot Det. Nemorin, who was driving. The back-up team that was trailing behind had briefly lost contact, because of the technical limitations of the equipment in that area of Staten Island. But when they caught up, they found the Detectives’ lifeless bodies in the road. Both Nemorin and Andrews still had their guns and the buy money on them.
The City went on high alert with a manhunt for the perps. Within 48 hours, the principal gunmen were captured. The triggerman, Ronell Wilson, was caught trying to take a livery cab from Red Hook to Staten Island. Green disguised himself in drag and tried to take a ferry when a female passenger told police on the ferry, “either that’s a guy or the ugliest woman I ever saw.”
Both James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews, better known as “Jay,” were appointed to the force on the same day, July 18, 1996. Nemorin was promoted to Detective August 28, 2000, and Andrews promoted to Detective on September 26, 2001. Both Detectives were previously Narcotics Undercovers.
On May 8, 2007, two more members of the Stapleton Crew, both of whom pleaded guilty to second degree murder charges within days of the killings, were sentenced. Mitchell Diaz, age 22, and Jessie Jacobus, age 21, each received 15 years to life for their roles in the murders. Previously, Diaz confessed to providing the gun to Ronell Wilson, and Jessie Jacobus, confessed to accompanying Wilson when he met with Detectives to rob them. They had cooperated with prosecutors within days of their arrest and testified before both the grand jury and during the trial of Ronell Wilson.
Rodney Andrews was raised in Manhattan and was a Navy Seal before joining the NYPD. He was 34 years old, divorced from his wife (who was also a Police Officer and now a first grade Detective). They have two sons, 12 and 11 at the time of the shooting. Andrews was also survived by his father. Devoted to his children, he was known for his striking, “movie-star handsome” good looks.
James Nemorin was 36 years old. He was an immigrant from Haiti and moved to Brooklyn at age 21. He was an NYPD Auxiliary Police Officer before he joined the force, and earned a degree in criminal justice from John Jay College. He was survived by his wife, two young sons and a baby daughter. Nemorin played for the PBA’s soccer team and also for a local Haitian team called the New York Soccer All-Stars. He was known for being a snappy dresser.
Both Detectives loved their work and were excited by the transfer from high-risk narcotics to even higher risk gun investigation.
The principal shooter, Wilson, was indicted on First Degree Murder charges as well as other criminal counts. He was sentenced to death twice (under federal statutes), but the decisions were reversed twice, citing his mental handicaps. He is currently serving life without parole. On August 2, 2006, four other members of the Stapleton Crew, the Staten Island gang responsible for the murders, were sentenced in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Angel Rodriguez received ten years and Jamal Brown 12 years on their plea bargain deals. Paris Bullock also struck a plea deal and received 25 years; another gang member, Michael Whitten, received 27 years. Three other members of the gang also pleaded guilty and were sentenced previously in State Supreme Court on Staten Island.
Det. James Nemorin is buried at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury, Long Island. A street was renamed in his honor at 8th Avenue between 63rd and 65th Streets in Brooklyn. On November 16, 2009, Harbor Unit Launch #40 was dedicated to Detectives Nemorin and Andrews. The civilian who in 2003 identified Omar Green on the Staten Island Ferry was able to reveal herself in 2023: she was now-NYPD Sergeant Candice Negron.
Click on the pdf file link below for the related articles in The Gold Shield, Summer 2003 issue.
Click on the pdf file link below to read the Detectives of the Month story from September 2003, which included recipient Det. Andrews when he was working Narcotics.