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Cop Killer's Family: Ismaaiyl Brinsley Had Troubles, Didn't Get Help He Needed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New details were learned Monday about the man who killed two NYPD officers on Saturday before turning his weapon on himself.

His family said he led a life of crime and really needed help.

"I feel so bad for the family. We give our condolences to the family," Jalaa'a Brinsley told CBS2's Steve Langford on Monday.

"We're grieving. We are very sorry for what happened for the innocent cops that were there," Brinsley's aunt, Ann Arledge, added.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley's sister and aunt described him as estranged from them, deeply troubled and ultimately suicidal.

"We were best friends when I was a kid, but when he turned to a life of crime I had to separate myself from him," Jalaa'a Brinsley said.

Jalaa'a Brinsley said the family first learned what her younger brother did to two New York City police officers from the media.

The family members did not answer questions about a phone call Ismaaiyl Brinsley made to his mother on Saturday before officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot and killed just sitting in their police car in Brooklyn.

"You know what? I'd rather not speak about that, because it can go into some deep things," Jalaa'a added.

The family also rejected any suggestion the two police officers were targeted for what they represented, despite social media postings declaring the intention to attack the police.

"This has nothing to do with police retaliation. This was a troubled, emotionally troubled kid. He needed help; he didn't get it," Jalaa'a said.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley had an extensive record with law enforcement.

"He has 15 prior arrests in Georgia for assorted crimes -- misdemeanor assault, shoplifting, grand larceny and gun possession," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley was also arrested four times in Ohio, Langford reported. His family described him as an angry, troubled man whose life had spiraled out of control.

"If he got arrested this many times why wouldn't they help him out? They kept releasing him into the streets. So, isn't that a problem that the justice system should be asking? Not us," Jalaa'a said.

Brinsley's rampage started early Saturday morning outside of Baltimore at his ex-girlfriend's apartment, where he shot her in the stomach.

A neighbor who didn't want to be identified heard the two fighting.

"I hear her crying.  Then all of a sudden, I hear this scream out of fear.  Then I heard a pop.  I heard her say you shot me.  You shot me.  You shot me," the neighbor said.

As CBS2's Matt Kozar reported, detectives interviewed the victim, Shaneka Thompson, at her hospital bed. She told them Brinsley first put the gun to his head, but she talked him out of killing himself.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley was the father of two children, an infant and a 5-year-old, his family said, declining to give any other details.

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