New York City is reeling from the murder of two police officers who were shot and killed over the weekend in Brooklyn. The suspect, who reportedly shared over social media that he wanted to kill police, traveled from Baltimore to New York, fatally shot the officers at point-blank range in their patrol car, then killed himself.
2 N.Y.P.D. Officers Killed in Brooklyn Ambush; Suspect Commits Suicide
Officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, were sitting in their patrol car in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Saturday afternoon when the gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, walked up to the passenger-side window, and without warning or provocation, fired several shots at the officers, who did not draw their weapons. Brinsley then fled to a nearby subway station, where he killed himself as officers closed in.
Brinsley, who had a long rap sheet and a history of mental problems, used the same gun to shoot his former girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson, in Baltimore earlier that day, before boarding a bus to New York City. He had apparently seized on a plan, shared to the world via Instagram, to kill two police officers.
Once in Brooklyn, he used Ms. Thompson's phone to make posts to Instagram. One showed a leg of his camouflage pants and his greenish shoe, spattered in blood. The other showed his pistol. "I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today They Take 1 Of Ours...... Let's Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice," he wrote.
At 12:07 p.m., Mr. Brinsley dropped the phone near the Barclays Center and disappeared.
The phone kept pinging, though, and the Baltimore County police contacted the police in Brooklyn. At 2:10 p.m., Baltimore County authorities reached the 70th Precinct, near where the signal had been detected, and said they had faxed over a wanted poster of Mr. Brinsley.
It was not clear if the fax was received. Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said on Saturday that it did not show up until about 2:45 p.m.
By then, time had run out. Mr. Brinsley was in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He stopped two men on a street corner. He asked them what gang they belonged to. He urged them to follow him on Instagram. Then he said they should watch what he did next.
The murder of the two officers sent a shockwave through New York and the nation. In Brooklyn, neighbors and loved ones mourned for Liu, a seven-year veteran of the police department. Described as a man with many friends, he would have been married just three months on Sunday.
Officer Liu, whose family comes from Taishan, in Guangdong Province, China, attended the College of Staten Island and Kingsborough Community College. He was an auxiliary officer before becoming a police officer in 2007.
Bin Fin Liang, 56, said Officer Liu would drop by his restaurant supply shop on the way home from the Police Academy. Mr. Liang asked him why he wanted to be an officer.
"I know that being a cop is dangerous but I must do it," Officer Liu replied, his friend said. "If I don't do it and you don't do it, then who is going to do it?"
More here: In Brooklyn, the Lives of 2 Officers Are Recalled as Their Deaths Are Mourned
My deepest condolences to the families of both officers.
As many have expressed, this is a sobering, senseless tragedy, no matter where you stand on recent events. It's important that Brinsley is not held up as the face of the growing national movement against police violence. Some are already working overtime to exploit this incident and make that connection. Nobody wanted this.
The explosive protests that have arisen from the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other victims at the hands of police violence were never part of an anti-cop movement. It's a cry against a discriminatory policing and a system that turns a blind eye to justice and accountability.
More here: CPR Statement re: Deaths of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu & Rafael Ramos