Washington: In what appears to be a revenge for cop killings of black men, two New York police Department police officers were on Saturday afternoon shot in head while sitting in their patrol car by a black gunman who later killed himself.
According to the New York police, the gunman who was a black, walked up to the two officers named Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos who were sitting inside the patrol car in Brooklyn and opened fire before running into a nearby subway station and shooting himself in the head.
“While sitting in a marked NYPD police car, in full uniform, both were ambushed and murdered in front of 98 Tompkins Avenue in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, New York City,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.
The shooter is said to be a 28-year-old black named Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had earlier posted threatening messages against police and also shot at his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore. He is also said to have made anti-police posts from her Instagram account. According to an Associated Press report, the gunman "had announced online he planned to shoot two 'pigs' in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner".
The incident comes at a time when US cities have witnessed fierce protests over police killings of black men that were aggravated in wake of grand juries not charging white police officers in shooting cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
President Barack Obama condemned the killing "unconditionally" and urged the people to reject violence and "words that harm" and to "turn to the words that heal".
President Obama, who is vacationing in Hawaii, stated, "Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification". He added that police offers risk their own safety to serve and protect their communities and that they deserve the public's respect and gratitude.
Mourning the death of the two cops, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said that they were targeted for their uniform and 'assassinated' without any warning or provocation.
“It's sometime difficult to find the words to speak to events like those that occurred today, to try and make sense of them,” Bratton said.
Giving the details about the attack, Bratton said that while Officer Ramos was in the driver seat, Officer Liu was in the front passenger seat beside him.
“28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, walked up to the police car. He took a shooting stance on the passenger side and fired his weapon several times through the front passenger window striking both officers in the head,” Bratton said citing eye witnesses.
We mourn the loss of NYPD Police Officers Wenjian Liu & Rafael Ramos. Both were shot & killed today while working in Brooklyn.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 21, 2014
Bratton said that the cops were killed ambush-style and that the officers never had the opportunity to draw their weapons and “may never have actually seen their assailant, their murderer”.
Other cops posted at Brooklyn then chased the gunman but Brinsley then turned westbound fled into the Myrtle Avenue and shot himself in the train subway station.
The gunman was armed with a “silver semi-automatic Taurus firearm”.
Out of the two slain police officers, one was Asian and another Hispanic.
Calling the attack on NYPD cops as a heinous attack on the entire city, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, said that the entire New York was in mourning.
He also urged people to inform police in case they came across any anti-police threat postings on social media.
When police officers are murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society. This heinous attack was an attack on our entire city.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) December 21, 2014
The attack on the cops is an apparent revenge killing in retaliation to the shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Also, the shooter had reportedly posted threats about shooting police in retaliation to the death of Mr Garner, said a news agency.
A grand jury did not indict any New York police department officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a black man who died when white police officers tried to arrest him for selling cigarettes.
The killing of the cops may refocus the spotlight on the trust deficit between the police and black community as it comes soon after anti-police protests had begun to subside in US cities.
The shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were increasingly seen as a racial issue with huge crowds of blacks protesting against the grand juries' verdict of not charging the white cops in both the cases.