By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed by a gang member from Baltimore, Md. on Saturday afternoon on Dec. 20th, according to the New York Police Department. Office Liu and his partner were sitting in their patrol car while on duty in Brooklyn, N.Y. when they were shot at point-blank range. Officer Liu served with the New York City Police Department for 7 ½ years. Liu, 32, was recently married as he is survived by his wife of two months.
As the officers were in their patrol car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, Ismaaiyl Brinsley walked up to the passenger-side window and shot several rounds into the patrol car hitting the officers. Brinsley, 28, indicated on social media platform Instagram that he was going to kill police officers. Earlier in the day, Brinsley had shot his former girlfriend in Baltimore before traveling to Brooklyn to follow through with his threat. Baltimore County Police Department officials had discovered the Instagram posts and sent a warning via fax to the New York Police Department. But receipt of the fax was received just minutes before the officers were shot.
After shooting the two officers, Brinsley ran from the scene and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head at a nearby subway platform.
“Officer Liu and Officer Ramos never had the chance to draw their weapons. They may actually have never seen their assailant, their murderer,” said New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton at a Saturday evening news conference after the slayings. The New York City mayor stated, “It’s clear that this was an assassination –that these officers were shot, execution style.”
The officers were assigned to the area to patrol a housing project in the neighborhood where there had been reports of violence, according to police officials.
Charlie Hu, the manager of a liquor store near the shooting saw the two officers slouched over in the front seat. Hu indicated that it appeared both had been shot in the head.
The shooting comes at a time when police-public relations are strained due to the recent grand jury acquittals of the police officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner in Staten Island.
Brinsley had an extensive criminal record including robbery and carrying a concealed weapon. He may be associated with a notorious Baltimore gang although the investigation continues.
Candles and flowers were set out in front of the Liu home in Brooklyn. Local business owners that knew of the couple stated that they were both very happy and “clearly in love.” In addition to his wife, Liu was the only child of his parents who grieved with Liu’s wife. Officer Liu’s parents are from China.
Officer Ramos, 40, was a two-year veteran of the New York Police Department. He leaves behind two sons and a wife. ■
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.