An up-and-coming NYPD officer and the career criminal accused of his murder traveled two wildly disparate paths to their first, last and fatal meeting.
Off-duty cop Adeed Fayaz, 26, the father of two small boys, was looking to buy a used car advertised on the internet when he arrived in Brooklyn with his brother-in-law on the night of Feb. 3. They were met by Randy “Popper” Jones, an ex-con with 13 prior New York arrests and a hidden weapon, police said.
“Are you guys carrying a gun?” asked Jones before placing the unsuspecting cop in a headlock and pulling his weapon to start the lethal attack. Fayaz was shot in the head moments after breaking free.
His brother-in-law grabbed the mortally-wounded cop’s gun from the holster on his hip and returned fire, with Jones blasting back in a fast and furious gunfight where 11 shots were fired. The suspect, in a black jacket and grey sweatpants, fled inside his mother’s black BMW and left Fayaz lying in a darkened alley.
The young officer was pronounced dead Tuesday at Brookdale University Hospital after a three-day vigil by devastated family, friends and fellow officers gathered in support. Jones was arrested one day earlier for the premeditated robbery turned fatal shooting, and he soon emerged as the antithesis of his victim.
Fayaz was a five-year NYPD veteran, a religious man and an active member in the Muslim Officers Society. He commuted to the 66th Precinct in Brooklyn from his suburban home in Deer Park, L.I., and joined the department in 2017 — following in the path of two uncles on the force.
“He loved this city,” said one of them, Mehran Fayaz, at his nephew’s funeral.
Born in Pakistan, Adeed Fayaz came to the U.S. as a 5-year-old boy and announced his ambition to become a police officer while just a middle school student. He was fluent in five languages, recalled NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
And there was Jones, with a string of prior arrests dating to 2008 — when his shooting victim was just 12 years old. He was a father of five, including a six-month-old infant. The baby, along with her siblings and her mother, watched as police arrested the bearded suspect inside a Rockland County hotel last Monday.
Cops said Jones arrived for the deadly meeting with Fayaz behind the wheel of his mother’s black BMW, later ditched in Harlem before he headed north to hide out. Prosecutors later revealed the suspect covered a bullet hole in the car with a piece of tape in a failed effort to avoid detection and arrest.
The 38-year-old Jones was behind bars when Fayaz’s family and fellow officers gathered again Thursday at a Coney Island mosque for a final farewell. His widow Mahida Sabeel and their sons Rayan, 4, and Zayan, 3, joined hundreds of NYPD officers at the service two days after their patriarch was taken off life support.
On Wednesday, Jones was held without bail at a Brooklyn arraignment where he arrived in a white Tyvek jumpsuit. More than 100 NYPD members turned out to glower at the defendant inside Brooklyn Criminal Court, with Jones uttering not a single word during his appearance.
Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini took note during the hearing that Fayaz sought to buy a far-less flashy vehicle than the BMW driven by the defendant on the night of the shooting.
“The type of car that lures hardworking, honest people,” she said.
The officer’s planned purchase of the $24,000 Honda Pilot almost didn’t happen: Fayaz canceled the first meeting because he was feeling ill, but the buy was rescheduled for Feb. 4.
Authorities later said the murder suspect’s criminal history dates to his early 20s, including busts for strangulation, armed robbery, aggravated harassment — and “carnal knowledge” of an underage teen victim in Virginia.
Fayaz had his eyes on the future before his slaying. The officer was studying with one of his NYPD uncles to take the sergeant’s exam, with friends teasing Mehran Fayez that his nephew would get promoted first.
“He wanted to be in the police department so bad, he took tests so early,” said the uncle.
When police took Jones into custody, the arresting officers made sure to slap the slain officer’s handcuffs on the accused killer.
“We wanted him to know what he did to that officer,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig. “And that officer’s cuffs went on him. I think it sends a powerful message.
Retired NYPD officer Ahmen Nasser, who became friendly with Fayaz through the Muslim Officers Society, delivered a potent message to the murder suspect while standing vigil with fellow officers outside the hospital.
“I hope you rot in hell,” said the 57-year-old Nasser.