A wanted fugitive executed two New York City police officers on Saturday afternoon.
The 28-year-old gunman, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, “ambushed and murdered” two officers, shooting them point-blank in the head as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn before killing himself at a nearby subway platform, NYC Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said at a press conference. The officers were identified as Wenjian Liu, a seven-year veteran of the force, and Rafael Ramos, who has been with the force since 2012.
Fighting back tears, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio described the murders as “an assassination” that was carried out in “execution style.” The loss, he said, “goes at the very heart of our society, our democracy.” “When a police officer is murdered it tears at the foundation of our society. It is an attack on all of us, it is an attack on all we hold dear,” DeBlasio explained. “Our entire city was attacked by this heinous individual.”
Brinsley, who had a long criminal record, also shot his girlfriend earlier that morning in Baltimore County, Maryland.
Commissioner Bratton said the Brisnely’s motivations were not clear, but alluded to Instagram postings that betrayed a strong anti-police bias. He lamented the “anti police, anti-criminal justice system, anti-societal initiatives underway” in many parts of the country, referring to the protests sparked after two unarmed black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, were killed by police officers who were later not indicted for their murders.
The New York Post reports that Brinsley, allegedly wrote in an Instagram post, “I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours…Let’s Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner #RIPMikeBrown.” He concluded with, “This May Be My Final Post.”
Civil rights activists, who have called for reforms in police practices and the justice system in the aftermath of the Brown and Garner murders swiftly condemned the killing. “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,” Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement.
According to FBI statistics, in 2013, 76 law enforcement officers died on duty, including 27 during criminal acts. Since 1972, NYPD partners had been murdered together seven times, Bratton said at the press conference.
As DeBlasio entered the press conference, some officers turned their backs to him in an apparent protest of his handling of the Eric Garner case.
National Review editor Richard Lowry blamed Ferguson protesters for the killing:
Other conservatives quickly piled on:
Bernard Kerik told Newsmax the shooting was encouraged by Mayor Bill De Blasio and the Rev. Al Sharpton "they have blood on their hands."wow
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) December 21, 2014