The New York man who ambushed two city police officers first walked up to two strangers on the street and boasted, “Watch what I’m going to do!”
Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, approached the bystanders moments before opening fire on Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, asking the men to follow him on Instagram before making the eerie statement, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said in a press conference, according to the New York Post. Hours earlier, Brinsley had shot his ex-girlfriend at her Baltimore-area home.
Police say Brinsley shot the two officers in the head through the window of their marked patrol car Saturday in an attack that shocked America’s biggest city just days before Christmas.
Brinsley then fled toward a nearby subway station, with two public utility workers giving chase before flagging down other officers.
Brinsley fatally shot himself in the head as the cops closed in, Boyce said.
A silver semi-automatic firearm was recovered at the scene.
READ MORE: Who led cops to NYPD shooter? Pair of power company workers risked lives, confronted killer
Brinsley has a history of run-ins with the law, according to the New York Post. His record includes 15 arrests in Georgia from 2004 to 2013 for assorted crimes: misdemeanor assault, larceny, shoplifting and gun possession. He was arrested four times in Ohio from May 2009 to September 2009 on robbery and misdemeanor theft charges, and he served two years in a Georgia prison for criminal possession of a weapon.
Shortly before Brinsley’s last and most gruesome crime, an Instagram account believed to have been his posted a photo of a gun resembling the one recovered from the scene, with the message, “I’m Putting Wings on Cops Today.” This instagram screenshot was taken before his account was closed on Saturday. It displays the alleged gun used at the murder scene and includes language showing a disturbed and angry person.
Brinsley has a history of run-ins with the law. He has 15 prior arrests in Georgia for assorted crimes: misdemeanor assault, larceny, shoplifting, and gun possession, dated from 2004 to 2013. He was arrested 4 times in Ohio from May 2009 to September 2009–robbery and misdemeanor theft. He served over 2 years in various prisons, mostly from a 2-year sentence for the Georgia case of criminal possession of a weapon.
Saturday’s slayings come as police in New York and across the nation are being criticized for their tactics, especially after the July death of Eric Garner, who was stopped in Staten Island on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video captured an officer wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck and wrestling him to the ground. Garner was heard gasping, “I can’t breathe,” before he lost consciousness and later died.
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