After 2 NYPD officers killed, more threats against police emerge – CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New York police investigate more than 15 threats against officers posted on social media
  • A gunman shot his ex-girlfriend in Maryland before going to New York and killing two officers
  • Officer’s son: “Everyone says they hate cops, but they are the people that they call for help”
  • The families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown denounce the killings of the officers

New York (CNN) — The cop-killer didn’t seem to have a specific target — just any two officers in uniform.

And on the day of his deadly attack, those officers just happened to be Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

While patrolling a Brooklyn neighborhood Saturday, the New York police officers were killed by the man who had also just shot his ex-girlfriend — and apparently broadcast his intention to kill police on social media.

Here’s what we know about the shooting, the victims and the latest threats against police:

The attack

Liu and Ramos were sitting in their patrol car in a high-crime part of Brooklyn when — without warning — the gunman shot them in the head.

New York Police Officer Wenjian Liu
New York Police Officer Wenjian Liu
New York Police Officer Rafael Ramos
New York Police Officer Rafael Ramos

“They were, quite simply, assassinated,” New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said.

Tantania Alexander, the first emergency medical technician on the scene, became emotional when she described looking into the patrol car.

“He has a family,” Alexander remembers thinking. “You don’t know if he’s going to go … you put your life on the line every day for people.”

Police said the shooter was 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Hours before he killed Liu and Ramos, Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend near Baltimore. The woman, 29-year-old Shaneka Nicole Thompson, was shot in the stomach but survived.

A series of social media posts believed to be from Brinsley gave ominous clues that police would be next.

The warnings

It was one of the ex-girlfriend’s friends who alerted Baltimore County Police to troubling Instagram posts that the friend believed came from Brinsley.

“These posts included overt threats to kill police officers,” police said. And they appeared to be posted in Brooklyn, New York.

“I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today,” one Instagram post read, according to police. “They Take 1 Of Ours, Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.”

Brinsley also posted messages of self-loathing and despair and made reference online to Michael Brown and Eric Garner, black men who were killed by police.

Around 2:10 p.m., 40 minutes after speaking with the friend, Baltimore County police said they called New York police to warn them. Then they faxed a “wanted” poster with Brinsley’s picture.

“Suspect is armed with a 9mm handgun and has posted pictures on Instagram saying that he will shoot a police officer today,” a description on the flier says.

But it was too late. New York Police Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said while New York police were spreading the warning, Brinsley ambushed and killed the two officers.

People light candles during a vigil on Sunday, December 21, for two NYPD officers who were ambushed and killed on Saturday. The two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot while sitting in their police car. Police have named Ismaaiyl Brinsley as the shooter.People light candles during a vigil on Sunday, December 21, for two NYPD officers who were ambushed and killed on Saturday. The two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot while sitting in their police car. Police have named Ismaaiyl Brinsley as the shooter.
Lucy Ramos, aunt of slain police officer Rafael Ramos, speaks at a news conference in front of Ramos' childhood home on December 21.Lucy Ramos, aunt of slain police officer Rafael Ramos, speaks at a news conference in front of Ramos’ childhood home on December 21.
A New York City police officer kneels on Sunday, December 21, in front of a small memorial for two police officers who were killed in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday. A New York City police officer kneels on Sunday, December 21, in front of a small memorial for two police officers who were killed in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, speaks about the killings of the officers during a news conference at the National Action Network headquarters in New York on December 21. Behind him are, from left, Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner; attorney Michael Hardy; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; and attorney Jonathan Moore.The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, speaks about the killings of the officers during a news conference at the National Action Network headquarters in New York on December 21. Behind him are, from left, Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner; attorney Michael Hardy; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; and attorney Jonathan Moore.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, third from right, speaks on December 21 while Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, fourth from right, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, right, listen during a news conference at an impromptu memorial near the site where the officers were shot. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, third from right, speaks on December 21 while Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, fourth from right, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, right, listen during a news conference at an impromptu memorial near the site where the officers were shot.
Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center on Saturday, December 20. Mourners stand at attention as the bodies of two fallen NYPD officers are transported from Woodhull Medical Center on Saturday, December 20.
New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton speaks alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and NYPD's Chief of Department James O'Neill, right, during a news conference at Woodhull Medical Center on December 20. New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton speaks alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and NYPD’s Chief of Department James O’Neill, right, during a news conference at Woodhull Medical Center on December 20.
Investigators work the scene where two NYPD officers were shot December 20, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Investigators work the scene where two NYPD officers were shot December 20, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.
The officers were shot and killed ambush-style Saturday afternoon as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn, officials said.The officers were shot and killed ambush-style Saturday afternoon as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn, officials said.
The officers -- one with two years' experience, the other with seven years on the job -- were normally assigned to downtown Brooklyn but were working a The officers — one with two years’ experience, the other with seven years on the job — were normally assigned to downtown Brooklyn but were working a “critical response” detail in an area with higher crime, police said.
The shooter was found dead in a nearby subway station from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said. The shooter, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, arrived in New York from Baltimore, police said.The shooter was found dead in a nearby subway station from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said. The shooter, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, arrived in New York from Baltimore, police said.
The shooting occurred near Myrtle and Tompkins avenues in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.The shooting occurred near Myrtle and Tompkins avenues in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
Police officers gather near the scene of the shooting. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the attack Police officers gather near the scene of the shooting. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the attack “an unspeakable act of barbarism.”
An officer with a police dog monitors the scene on the evening of December 20. An officer with a police dog monitors the scene on the evening of December 20.
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
Two NYPD officers fatally shot
HIDE CAPTION
Photos: Two NYPD officers fatally shotPhotos: Two NYPD officers fatally shot

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Later, at a nearby subway station, Brinsley was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The outrage

The officers’ killings came after months of protests over the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers.

In July, New York City police officers wrestled Garner to the ground, with one officer wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck in a chokehold. That officer was not indicted.

And in August, Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. That officer also was not indicted.

But nothing justifies the killings of officers Liu and Ramos, Brooklyn resident Shaniqua Pervis said.

“This can’t happen. If you mad at somebody, be mad at the person that you are mad at. Now, we have two families that (are) missing somebody for the holidays,” Pervis told CNN affiliate WABC.

“Where is your humanity? I know it’s a war going on, and shoutout to Eric Garner’s family and everybody else who lost somebody, but you’re not at his house, on his lawn. This is two (officers). You don’t even know if (they were) good or bad. I don’t condone this, and I’m not with it.”

Brown’s family condemned Saturday’s slayings.

“We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated. We must work together to bring peace to our communities,” the family said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officers’ families during this incredibly difficult time.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton said the Garner family was outraged by the police officers’ killings.

“Any use of the names of 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,” Sharpton said.

Brooklyn on edge after NYPD cops killed

NYPD Comm.: Cops were ‘targeted’

The new threats

As they grieve the deaths of two of their colleagues, New York police must also deal with a spate of new threats.

The NYPD is investigating more than 15 threats to officers posted on various social media platforms and trying to determine whether any are serious or credible, a senior New York City law enforcement officer told CNN.

The department’s intelligence division continues to monitor social media for threats made to the NYPD. Officials have not released details about any potentially credible threats.

But the troubling messages aren’t just coming from New York.

A Memphis, Tennessee, man has been questioned after allegedly posting threats against the NYPD, CNN affiliate WREG reported.

“Good job. Kill em all I’m on the way to NY now #shootthepolice 2 more going down tomorrow,” an Instagram post read.

The NYPD has already pulled all of its auxiliary officers off the streets in the wake of the killings of the two officers. Auxiliary officers are unarmed volunteer officers who help with traffic control or other minor situations.

The victims

Both Liu and Ramos dreamed of being police officers, Bratton said.

Liu, 32, was a seven-year veteran and married just two months ago, WABC reported. Ramos, 40, joined the force two years ago after spending three years as a school safety officer. Ramos was married and has a 13-year-old son.

Ramos’ teenage son, Jaden, posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook.

“Today is the worst day of my life,” Jaden wrote.

“Today I had to say bye to my father. He was (there) for me everyday of my life, he was the best father I could ask for. It’s horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad.”

Shimon Prokupecz reported from New York; Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet, Ashley Fantz, Joe Sutton, Alexandra Field, Ray Sanchez and Rick Martin contributed to this report.

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