Two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot “execution style” just before 3 p.m. Saturday while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn, police said.
“Quite simply, they were assassinated,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said at a press conference Saturday evening. They may have never seen the attacker.
Liu got married only two months ago, according to Bratton, who met with Liu’s devastated parents and new bride.
Ramos, who just had his 40th birthday, became a cop only three years ago after working for years as a school safety officer.
Ramos’ family includes a 13-year-old son, “who couldn’t comprehend what had happened to his father,” de Blasio said.
The mayor called the shooting “a particularly despicable act which goes at the very heart of our society and our democracy.”
The gunman, identified by police as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, opened fire on Liu and Ramos while they were parked outside of the Tompkins Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Brinsley was pursued by other officers and entered a subway station, where authorities said he then fatally shot himself in the head.
“The perp came out of the houses, walked up behind the car and lit them up,” a high-ranking police official told the Daily News. “He approached from behind, opened fire and clearly his intent was to assassinate them,” an official conveyed to the New York Times.
Rev. Al Sharpton was quick to condemn the killing, saying “any use of the names Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases.”
Brinsley is believed to have presaged the killing in a social media message posted hours before he shot the two officers, a law enforcement source told WNBC and News12. On an Instagram account linked to the shooter’s, Brinsley posted a photo of a silver handgun and a threatening message to police, the New York Post reported. Brinsely wrote, “I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours…Let’s Take 2 of Theirs,” along with hashtags referencing Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the Daily News reported.
Bratton said that Brinsley had shot his girlfriend in Baltimore earlier on Saturday. He may have had connection to the East Flatbush area of New York. The Baltimore Police Department sent a warning to the NYPD on Saturday afternoon to say that Brinsley was in the area.
According to preliminary reports, both officers were working overtime as part of an anti-terrorism drill when they were shot point-blank by a single gunman who approached their car at the corner of Myrtle and Tompkins avenues.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 20, 2014
A law enforcement official confirms to Shimon Prokupecz both officers ambushed in their NYPD cruiser have died at the hospital.
— Steve Brusk (@stevebruskCNN) December 20, 2014
The shooting occurred in Bedford-Stuyvesant about a block away from the Myrtle/Willoughby G train subway station, a witness told the New York Daily News. After the shooting, officers pursued the suspect into the train station, witnesses said.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 20, 2014
A witness who was on the first car of a Court Square-bound G train when police were on the scene told the Huffington Post that he saw “crowds of people lined up squatting against the wall” and “trying to hide behind benches” on the platform as his train pulled in.
“Everyone on the platform was on the ground.” the witness, who wished to remain anonymous, told HuffPost. “A cop ran up to the conductor’s window, slammed on it and told him not to open the train doors… the train kept rolling.”
Addressing the media later on Saturday NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton expressed his grief, and said that he had visited the deceased officers’ families.
— Chief Charlie Beck (@LAPDChiefBeck) December 20, 2014
This is a developing story.
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