NEW YORK, Dec 22 – New York reeled after the murder of two uniformed cops by a man whom investigators say told bystanders to “watch what I’m going to do” just before the killings.
Candles, flowers and an American flag were placed at a makeshift memorial at the scene of the shooting, which apparently was out of revenge for the recent killings of unarmed black men by police.
A somber mass was held at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan and the New York Jets football team held a moment of silence. After nightfall, supporters gathered for a candlelight vigil, singing and saying prayers.
The two officers — Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40 — were shot in the head through the window of their patrol car in broad daylight Saturday in Brooklyn in an attack that shocked America’s biggest city just days before Christmas.
Police named the shooter as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28. He fled to a nearby subway station after the attack, where he shot himself in the head on the platform.
Investigators said Brinsley had shot his ex-girlfriend, who survived, at her apartment outside Baltimore before heading for New York.
Just before the shooting, Brinsley spoke with bystanders, asking them about their gang affiliation, urging them to follow him on Instagram and to “watch what I’m going to do,” the New York Police Department’s chief of detectives Robert Boyce said.
“They Take 1 of Ours… Let’s Take 2 of Theirs,” read a comment seemingly written by Brinsley on Instagram just hours before the assault, next to a photo of a silver handgun.
Brinsley had been arrested at least 19 times, Boyce said, mostly while living in Georgia, on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to terror threats.
Boyce said Brinsley’s mother was afraid of her son, who had a “very troubled” childhood, was often violent and had tried to commit suicide.