Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were two police officers in New York City, killed in apparent retaliation for the deaths of Eric Gardner and Michael Brown. The pair were sitting in their vehicle when they were gunned down. The assailant approached the passenger side of their car, and without a warning, assumed a firing stance, and opened fire, fatally striking both officers in the head.
The pair of police were inside a critical response vehicle (CRV), in the Tompkins Houses in the 79 Precinct of Brooklyn. These CRV's are designed for counter-terrorism operations, but have been in use in high-crimes areas in the Big Apple. Both officers were normally assigned to the 84 precinct, but were on patrol in the area due to a rise in crime there. Ramos was in the drivers seat and Liu in the passenger's seat when they were killed. Investigators believe they may have never seen their killer.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a 28-year-old male, has been identified as the gunman.
"Other officers, who were also assigned to the CRV post, immediately pursued Brinsley southbound on Tompkins Avenue. Brinsley then turned westbound on Myrtle Avenue and fled into the Myrtle Avenue and Willoughby Street (G) train subway station. He proceeded down the stairs onto the westbound subway platform," NYPD officials report.
Police state that once Brinsley was on the platform, he took his own life, by shooting himself in the head. A silver semi-automatic Taurus pistol was found near the fallen gunman. The assailant was transferred to Brooklyn Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead from his injuries. Ramos and Liu were sent to Woodhull Hospital, succumbing to their wounds.
At 5:45 in the morning on December 20, Brinsley shot a woman, believed to be his girlfriend, at her home in Baltimore County, Maryland, seriously injuring her in the attack. He then headed to New York City, where he would target the officers for death.
Social media postings by Brinsley in the days leading up to the killings spoke of the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, unarmed African-Americans killed earlier this year by police officers. In one statement, he wrote of killing police in retaliation for the deaths. Brinsley posted a photo of a silver handgun on Instagram hours before killing Liu and Ramos. Law enforcement authorities are currently scouring social media sites, on the lookout for other similar statements by potential assailants.
"On behalf of the entire NYPD, our prayers are w/the families of Officers Liu & Ramos who were tragically killed in the line of duty today," Commissioner Bratton of the New York Police Department tweeted.