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Slain NYPD officers, shooter ID'ed by investigators; shooting was possibly meant as revenge

Posted at 7:02 PM, Dec 20, 2014

A tumultuous time for New York City law enforcement turned tragic today when two NYPD officers were shot and killed while sitting inside a patrol car in Brooklyn.

Wenjian Liu, a seven-year veteran of the NYPD, and Rafael Ramos, a two-year member of the force, were killed with "no warning," according to William Bratton, NYPD commissioner.

The slayings may have been motivated by the recent deaths of African-American men in New York and Missouri at the hands of police officers.

According to the New York Times, just before 3 p.m., a 911 caller reported that two men had been shot in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood — a notoriously tough area. The suspected shooter, identified by Bratton as Ismaiiyl Brinsley, 28, reportedly shot Liu and Ramos in "the upper body" before running to a nearby subway station and shooting himself in the head.

The shooting was possibly meant as retaliation for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, according to the New York Post. The newspaper quoted one law enforcement official as calling the incident "an execution." That assumption was believed to be based on a series of Instagram posts allegedly made by Brinsley a few hours before the incident.

Garner died on July 17 after being placed in a chokehold by an NYPD officer in Staten Island. Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. Both deaths sparked nationwide protests after the officers involved were cleared of any wrongdoing.