NEW YORK (AP/WJZ) -- An armed Maryland man that allegedly killed two New York Police Department officers sitting in a patrol car in a Brooklyn, NY neighborhood Saturday afternoon was also linked to another shooting just hours before in Baltimore County, police said.
NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton confirmed that the suspect was Ismaaiyl Abdula Brinsley, a 28-year-old Baltimore man.
Bratton says the suspect shot his ex-girlfriend Saturday morning around 5:45 a.m. in Owings Mills. That victim is expected to survive.
The ex-girlfriend's mother told Baltimore County police that Brinsley was posting on her daughter's Instagram account.
Baltimore police learned of Brinsley's connection with Brooklyn and had faxed a warning flier to the NYPD, but it was not received until around the same time as the 2:47 p.m. shooting.
"I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today," the suspect's post said. "They Take 1 Of Ours. Let's Take 2 Of Theirs. #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner (sic) #RIPMikeBrown This May Be My Final Post. I'm Putting Pigs In A Blanket"
Bratton said in a news conference Saturday evening that the two officers killed "were, quite simply, assassinated."
He identified the officers as Wenjin Liu and Raphael Ramos. He says they were shot without warning or provocation.
"Officer Ramos and Officer Liu never had the opportunity to draw their weapons," Bratton said. "They may never have had the chance to see their murderer."
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio says the two officers are heroes.
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The shooting took place in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, where streets are blocked off for the investigation. Both officers were rushed to Woodhull hospital, where one was immediately pronounced dead. Police had said at least one of the officers was shot in the head.
The other officer was pronounced dead a short time later.
After the shooting, Brinsley fled running into a nearby subway station where authorities said he fatally shot himself.
The shooting comes at a time when police in New York and nationwide are being heavily criticized for their tactics following the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a black man who was stopped by police for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes and could be heard on an amateur video gasping, "I can't breathe" as he was being arrested.
Demonstrators around the country, including in Baltimore, have staged die-ins and other protests since a grand jury decided Dec. 3 not to indict the officer involved in Garner's death, a decision that closely followed a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.
Several New York officers were assaulted during demonstrations that have largely been peaceful, including one that drew thousands to the Brooklyn Bridge.
The president of the police officers union, Patrick Lynch, and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been locked in a public battle over treatment of officers following the decision not to indict the officer in Garner's death. Just days ago, Lynch suggesting police officers sign a petition that demanded the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job.
The last shooting death of an NYPD officer came in December 2011, when 22-year veteran Peter Figoski responded to a report of a break-in at a Brooklyn apartment. He was shot in the face and killed by one of the suspects hiding in a side room when officers arrived. The triggerman, Lamont Pride, was convicted of murder and sentenced in 2013 to 45 years to life in prison.
On Saturday evening, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released a statement about the shooting:
"I am deeply saddened by the shootings of two police officers in New York City and troubled to learn of the suspects connection to another crime so close to our Baltimore community. This is another reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform confront every day fighting to make communities safer. We must continue to speak out against violence of any kind. The overwhelming majority of law enforcement are good, decent and honorable men and women who care deeply about the communities they serve. It is an act of cowardice to target law enforcement in such a shameful way, and doing so does nothing to honor the lives lost in police custody. Our experience in Baltimore shows how far we can come when police and the community work together, and our charge moving forward must be to strengthen those bonds without resorting to violence."
(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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