Caribbean legislators in New York have condemned the killing on Saturday afternoon, at point-blank range, of two police officers by a gunman, who, officials said, had traveled to New York from Baltimore vowing to kill officers.
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton told reporters Saturday night that the officers were sitting in a police patrol car, outside a housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, when the gunman walked up to them and shot them dead.
Bratton said the suspect then committed suicide with the same gun, after police closed in on him, as he fled down the stairs of a nearby subway station.
“On behalf of the people of the Ninth Congressional District of New York and all people of good will from throughout our city, I would like to share my most profound condolences with the families and friends of the two police officers, Officer Wenjian Lui and Officer Rafael Ramos, who gave their lives in service to Brooklyn, and our city, and were killed today in the line of duty,” Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke told Caribbean Life.
“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the entire New York City Police Department, the men and women who make New York City the one of the safest cities in the world,” she added.
“Murderous and violent attacks on the public servants who are charged with the duty of protecting our public safety are a threat to all of us. This heinous act was despicable and inexcusable. This assassination was, indeed, an attack on our entire city,” Clarke continued.
New York City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said: “It pains me to hear the officers were executed in the most cowardly fashion imaginable, apparently by someone from out-of-town.
“No one of good conscience could encourage or tolerate horrors such as what has occurred today (Saturday),” said Williams, the Deputy Leader of the City Council and co-chair of the Council’s Taskforce to Combat Gun Violence.
“Tomorrow (Sunday), as the investigation continues and no matter where the facts lead, the memories of this tragedy must serve as an additional guide to any discourse that may soon come,” added Williams, a frequent critic of NYPD policing tactics.
Bratton said the suspected assassin, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, fired several rounds into the heads and upper bodies of Liu, 32, and Ramos, 40, who never had a chance to draw their guns, adding that police have recovered a silver semiautomatic handgun that Brinsley reportedly used in the fatal shootings.
The police commissioner also disclosed that Brinsley, who had a long rap sheet of crimes, including robbery and carrying a concealed gun, reportedly shot his ex-girlfriend near Baltimore before traveling to Brooklyn.
Brinsley had made statements on social media suggesting that he planned to kill police officers and was angered about the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases, in which two grand juries — one in Staten Island, New York and the other in Ferguson, Missouri — declined to indict two white police officers for killing two unarmed black men, according to the New York Times.
In condemning the killing of Ramos and Liu, President Barack Obama noted that police officers “deserve our respect and gratitude every single day.
“Tonight (Saturday), I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen,” he said.
Flanked by Bratton at the nearby Woodhull Hospital in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio said it was “an attack on all of us; it’s an attack on everything we hold dear.”
Bratton described the killing of the officers as an assassination, stating that they 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,” he said.
Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, a 22-year veteran of the NYPD, said he was “horrified and angered over today’s senseless shootings,” adding that “this has been a trying period for New York City, and, indeed, our entire nation, as we have wrestled with longstanding challenges of equity and fair treatment in our society.”
He said while he has been among many who have called for reforms to law enforcement and the criminal justice systems, “it must be perfectly clear that reform can never and must never mean retaliation
“This is a fundamental tenet that I do believe I share with every law-abiding New Yorker, including those who have responsibly exercised their right to expression in recent weeks,” Adams said.
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said: “As we continue to investigate these senseless acts of violence against two of our city’s heroes, we pray for peace, support the men and women who bravely patrol our streets every day, and mourn for the loss of these two police officers who gave their lives to keep us safe.”