clock menu more-arrow no yes

Two police officers shot and killed in New York City: what we know

A New York City Police Department officer watches over a crowd.
A New York City Police Department officer watches over a crowd.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images News

Two New York City police officers were shot and killed in Brooklyn on Saturday.

The story is developing. It's possible that some early reports are wrong, and the known facts could change substantially in the coming hours, days, and weeks. Here's what we know so far, what's being reported but isn't yet confirmed, and how key officials in New York and elsewhere are reacting.

What we know

William Bratton

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton speaks at a press conference. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images News)

  • Two uniformed New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers were shot and killed as they sat in a marked police car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton announced at a press conference following the shooting.
  • The two officers killed were Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, according to Bratton.

  • The suspected gunman is 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, Bratton said. His last known address is in Georgia.
  • The suspected gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. After the shooting, he reportedly fled to a nearby subway station before he shot himself.
  • Brinsley allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore County on Saturday morning, according to Bratton. She is expected to survive, the Baltimore Sun reported.

  • Brinsley posted threatening messages on Instagram prior to the shooting that indicated he was acting in retribution for the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, according to the Washington Post. The New York Post posted screenshots of the Instagram page:

    (Instagram via New York Post)

    (Instagram via New York Post)

  • Brinsley was arrested 19 times — 15 times in Georgia, four in Ohio — in the past, the Washington Post reported. Police described him as a highly troubled man whom his own mother feared.
  • Brinsley didn't attend protests against police brutality, but he was writing a screenplay about shootings involving his friends, a friend interviewed by investigators told the Daily Beast.
  • Liu, one of the officers killed, was recently married, according to Bratton. Ramos, the other officer, leaves behind a wife and 13-year-old son; he was a former school resource officer.


  • Baltimore County Police and Fire officials said they called an NYPD precinct to warn them about threatening Instagram posts and their origin in Brooklyn at 2:10 p.m., about 40 minutes before the shooting. But they didn't fax the information to the NYPD until 2:50 p.m., around the time of the shooting.

What we don't know

  • Police are still investigating the shooting, including the suspected gunman's motive for allegedly shooting his ex-girlfriend and two police officers. It's possible more details could come to light in the next few days and weeks.

How people reacted

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a press conference, called the shooting a heinous attack.

  • De Blasio cautioned that, in the future, the public should report any warnings of violence posted on the internet to the proper authorities.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the shooting "a deplorable act of violence" in a statement. "Tonight, we all come together to mourn the loss of these brave souls," he said.
  • President Barack Obama offered prayer and sympathy in a statement.

    President Obama NYPD statement
  • Other NYPD precincts showed their support.

  • Patrick Lynch, president of the NYPD union Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said there was "blood on the hands" of Mayor de Blasio and protesters, particularly "those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did everyday."
  • The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association website put up a different homepage in remembrance of the killed officers.

    nypd union website
  • Reverend Al Sharpton released a statement condemning the killing.

  • The FBI's New York office tweeted its condolences.

  • Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck voiced support for the NYPD and the fallen officers.

  • The family of Michael Brown released a statement, through family lawyer Benjamin Crump, also condemning the shooting. "We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement," the statement said. "It cannot be tolerated. We must work together to bring peace to our communities."
  • Leaders of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, decried the killings as well.

Update: The original headline said the shooting was a "possible revenge killing for Eric Garner's death." That headline was premature. Authorities have still not given a motive.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.