UPDATED INFORMATION: The woman (an ex-girlfriend) shot by Brinsley outside of Baltimore was not killed, but wounded.
Two police officers were shot dead execution style in Brooklyn today. The two officers sat in their marked police car early in the afternoon of December 20th when they were shot point-blank by a single gunman. Their car was just outside of the Tompkins Houses near Myrtle Avenue when the gunman approached them and shot them. He then ran into a nearby subway train station and shot himself to death on the crowded train platform.
Suspects say the gunman pumped bullets into the car and then fled. The alleged gunman shot and wounded his girlfriend in Baltimore earlier on Saturday, and then posted menacing messages on Instagram: “They Take 1 of Ours…Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.” Another message he posted said “I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today.”
Here are the two screenshots.
Scroll down to read more.
The suspected gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, shot at Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. Both were rushed to nearby Woodhull Hospital, where they were declared dead. Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference to speak about the horrific crime. It appears that the gunman executed the officers as an act of revenge for the recent Eric Garner and Michael Brown killings in police custody.
This double murder comes at a time of great tension nationwide and particularly in New York City, aggravated by the much publicized Garner and Brown cases, as well as others. Some are holding responsible Mayor de Blasio, Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama and the Reverend Al Sharpton for encouraging anti-police attitudes. A “Move On” petition is circulating to demand the resignation of Mayor de Blasio.
The vast majority of Americans will be horrified or at least saddened to learn about the cold-blooded killings of these two officers, and it is likely that this crime will exacerbate radical attitudes of both those who feel that cops are under assault and disrespected, as well as those who feel emboldened by cop killings.
I am horrified by this crime for many reasons. One, I am very upset about the killings of any fellow New Yorkers. Two, police officers do have dangerous jobs and this will make it even harder for them to do their jobs and for the city at large to deal with the enormity of this crime. Three, the crime took place in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, which had major crime problems from the 1960s through early 1990s, but had seen a considerable drop in its violence. Now this event will tarnish it again.
I am familiar with this exact corner and the exact train station where the gunman shot himself dead. In 2013 I worked at a school one block away and often parked right on the block where the officers were gunned down. Sometimes I took the train to work, and got out at the Myrtle Avenue stop. Woodhull Hospital looms large, literally and figuratively, in this neighborhood.
I am also reminded of a similar double execution of two NYPD police officers in May 1971. Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piangentini were ambushed by members of the Black Liberation Army. I was a child at the time of this awful double murder of officers, but years later I taught the son of Officer Jones, at a Manhattan high school. The young man was bright and articulate, but one day he grew angry at a comment made by another student in our class; he then told everyone about how his own father had been executed, and he had been just an infant at the time.
No matter what your viewpoints on police in general, this double murder of two NYPD officers is a blot of our society.
Ellen Levitt is the author of The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn (2009), The Lost Synagogues of the Bronx and Queens (2011) and The Lost Synagogues of Manhattan (2013). (And hopefully a book about NJ one day, if her publisher gives the green light.)