Vigil held for slain NYPD officers
A vigil was held in Brooklyn for two NYPD officers who were fatally shot Saturday while they sat in their patrol car.
The shooting happened shortly before 3 p.m. in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Police say the armed man walked up to the passenger side of the officers' marked car and fired four shots, striking the officers in the head. Officials say the two officers were eating lunch at the time and never had a chance to draw their weapons to defend themselves.
Both officers were rushed to Woodhull Hospital, but were pronounced dead. They were identified as Officer Rafael Ramos, 40, and Officer Wenjian Liu.
After the shooting, the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, fled on foot. Brinsley ran into the nearby Myrtle Avenue subway station and fatally shot himself in the head on the platform.
Investigators say Brinsley, who had a lengthy criminal record, was a fugitive wanted for shooting his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore early Saturday morning. She remains in critical condition. After that shooting, Brinsley apparently traveled by bus to New York.
A wanted poster was faxed from Baltimore to the NYPD about Brinsley, but NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said it came over at around the time the officers were being ambushed.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the officers were assassinated "execution-style." He offered his condolences to both officers' families at a press conference Saturday evening, where he wiped away tears as he discussed their deaths. "Our entire city was attacked by this heinous individual," de Blasio said.
Authorities say the two officers were from the 84th Precinct, and were in the area for anti-crime operations at housing projects.
Officer Ramos, a three-year veteran of the force, was married and had a 13-year-old son and another in college. Officer Liu, a seven-year veteran, married his wife about two months ago.
Even in the midst of tragedy, the family of Officer Ramos spoke of peace and unity.
"We don't blame him. We forgive him. The Ramos family forgives him because God forgave us and I know if Rafael was here and it was the opposite, he would say the same words, he forgave him," said a family member.
His friends, however, expressed outrage for the senseless killing.
Police officers in New York are now on high alert after months of simmering tensions and demonstrations over police brutality.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called on protesters to halt demonstrations until the officers are laid to rest.