More details on fatal shooting of two US policemen
Suspect tells passers-by to "watch what I’m going to do” before murdering two New York police officers, officials say

A gunman whom police say fatally shot two New York Citypolice officers on Saturday had a long criminal history with at least 19 arrests in two states and attempted to hang himself in 2013, officials said.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, spoke with two passers-by just prior to the shooting in Brooklyn, asking them for their gang affiliation, to follow him on Instagram and to "watch what I’m going to do" before walking northbound on Tompkins Avenue, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters on Sunday evening.

Police officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, were sitting in their patrol car in front of 98 Tompkins Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn when Brinsley shot them ambush-style, authorities said.

After the attack, Brinsley fled into the Myrtle-Willoughby Avenues subway station, where he shot himself in the head while on the platform.

He had faced at least 19 arrests in Ohio and Georgia for various offenses including theft, disorderly conduct, shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon and obstruction of a law enforcement officer, police said.

An autopsy report by the Medical Examiner's office classified the officers' deaths as homicide, and the manner of Brinsley's death was ruled a suicide.

Brinsley had shot and seriously wounded his ex-girlfriend, identified as Shaneka Thompson, in her residence in Baltimore County, Maryland, early on Saturday before travelling to New York City.

Screenshots taken from Brinsley's Instagram account showed a picture of a black man with thin-framed glasses and a separate picture of a grey pistol in what would become his last post. The account was later deleted.

"I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours...... [sic] Let's Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice," the writing accompanying the picture said. "Pig" is used as a slang word referring to a police officer.

The post also included the hashtags #RIPEricGarner and #RIPMikeBrown, referring to two unarmed black men who were shot dead by white police officers in July and August respectively.

Earlier in December, a grand jury decided to file no criminal charges in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. The decision, together with an earlier grand jury ruling to not indict a Missouri police officer in the death of Michael Brown, sparked protests in New York and other cities across the U.S., and ignited a debate on police brutality and race relations.

"Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases," Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent civil rights activist, said in a written statement.

Flags on all state government buildings were flown at half-staff on Sunday in honor of officers Ramos and Liu.

People placed candles, flowers and American flags at makeshift memorials created at the shooting scene and outside of the 84th Precinct where the officers worked.

The last fatal shooting of a New York police officer in the line of duty occurred in December 2011, when a veteran officer died after being shot when he interrupted a robbery in northeastern Brooklyn.

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Last Modified: 2014-12-22 12:12:16
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