Flowers, candlelight vigil for two murdered Brooklyn NYPD officers
Grief at 84th Precinct; Officials call for unity
A memorial of flowers and stuffed animals piled up at the entrance to Downtown Brooklyn’s 84th Precinct on Gold Street on Sunday, as hushed passersby added a card, said a prayer or lit a candle.
Mourners cried. Firefighters from Engine Company 210 grimly carried in food and baked goods.
“It’s very sad,” said a woman visiting from Ohio. She said that she had attended a service at a local church where prayers were offered up for the officers, and walked by to pay her respects.
It was the day after the cold-blooded murder of two police officers from the 84th. Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were doing duty in the 79th Precinct as part of a crime reduction strategy at the Tompkins Houses when 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley fired his gun through the front passenger window, striking both officers in the head.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police officer, called the shooting an “assassination.” He announced a candlelight vigil, set for 6 p.m. Sunday in Bedford Stuyvesant at the corner of Myrtle and Tompkins avenues.
Earlier on Sunday, Adams joined with fellow borough presidents — Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr., Manhattan BP Gale Brewer, Queens BP Melinda Katz and Staten Island BP James Oddo — in a call for solidarity.
“In the wake of this tragedy, this is not about one voice; this is about the voice of an entire city crying out for unity,” Adams said in a statement. “We are asking all New Yorkers to turn this pain into purpose to ensure we send out a very clear and loud message: All lives matter.”
“Our city is in mourning. My heart goes out to the families of the two police officers killed in an ambush in Brooklyn. Senseless shootings like this remind us that the entire NYPD puts their lives on the line every day they go to work,” said BP Brewer.
“In the death of the officers, the gunman is to blame. For the city which is on the line now, however, we need leaders to unite and urge peace,” BP Katz said.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) called the murders an “unthinkable tragedy.”
“It is a painful shock to the conscience of the entire community,” he said in a statement. “This situation is intolerable, and anyone else found responsible should be shown no mercy by the criminal justice system.”
On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed that flags on all state government buildings in New York City be flown at half-staff.
After visiting with the families of the two murdered officers on Saturday with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “Our city is in mourning. ”
“We depend on our police to protect us against forces of criminality and evil. They are a foundation of our society, and when they are attacked, it is an attack on the very concept of decency,” he said. “Therefore, every New Yorker should feel they, too, were attacked. Our entire city was attacked by this heinous individual.”
Commissioner Bratton called it “a time of great emotion and great passion.”
“Two of New York’s Finest were shot and killed, with no warning, no provocation. They were, quite simply, assassinated – targeted for their uniform, and for the responsibility they embraced to keep the people of this city safe,” Bratton said.
Officer Ramos was in the driver’s seat, and Officer Liu was in the front passenger seat beside him, Bratton said. According to witnesses, walked up to the police car, assumed a firing stance, and shot both officers.
“Officer Liu and Officer Ramos never had the opportunity to draw their weapons. They may never have actually even seen their assailant – their murderer,” Bratton said.
Police officers pursued Brinsley, who fled into the G train subway station at Myrtle Avenue and Willoughby Street. While on the platform there, Brinsley shot himself in the head. A silver semi-automatic firearm was recovered on the subway platform near his body.
Officers Liu and Ramos were transported to Woodhull Hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Brinsley was transported to Brooklyn Hospital, where he, too, was pronounced dead.
Bratton said that Brinsley allegedly shot his former girlfriend in Maryland early Saturday morning. At 2:45 p.m. Saturday, Baltimore authorities send a warning fax to the NYPD and other agencies, warning that Brinsley had expressed anger on his girlfriend’s Instagram account over the police-connected deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and had some connection to the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Brinsley killed the two Brooklyn officers two minutes later, at 2:47 p.m.
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