The man who shot and killed two New York Police Department officers in Brooklyn Saturday expressed anger against the government for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown on social media and had previously attempted suicide, officials said Sunday.
At a press conference, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who fatally shot himself in the head after killing NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, had no gang connections and had not been radicalized.
Boyce said police were still investigating Brinsley’s Instagram account on which he posted a photo of the gun he would use in the shooting and wrote that he was seeking revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men who were killed by white police officers earlier this year.
He reportedly wrote: “They Take 1 Of Ours, Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.”
Brinsley had traveled to New York earlier Saturday from Baltimore, Md., where around 5:30 a.m. he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and shot and injured her during a confrontation and then fled with her phone. She later identified Brinsley to police, who began tracking his movements via the phone.
Brinsley arrived in New York around 10:50 a.m., and he discarded the phone at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn around noon.
The NYPD was alerted to Brinsley’s whereabouts in Brooklyn only about an hour prior to the shooting.
Boyce said Brinsley spoke briefly with two men immediately before the shooting at 2:47 p.m in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, telling them, “Watch what I am about to do.”
He then walked up to the patrol car and fired four shots at Ramos and Liu at point blank range. ConEdison workers in the area witnessed the event and alerted two officers from another precinct. They followed Brinsley as he fled into a nearby subway where he shot himself in the head.
Boyce said Brinsley, who was born in Brooklyn, where his estranged mother and child currently live, had previously served time in prison for criminal possession of a weapon.
Earlier Sunday, flags flew at half staff around New York, as residents mourned the killings that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton characterized as an assassination. A memorial was set up where the officers were shot and a candlelight vigil was scheduled for Sunday night.