Police killings, suicide end the troubled life of Ismaaiyl Brinsley

"Watch what I'm going to do," Ismaaiyl Brinsley told passers-by in Brooklyn, before gunning down two New York police officers, a police official said.

By Frances Burns
Police killings, suicide end the troubled life of Ismaaiyl Brinsley
A memorial to New York police officers Rafael Rammos and Wenjian Liu includes flowers nd photographs placed outside the police precinct where they served. The officers were gunned down as they sat in a patrol car in Brooklyn. The killer, Ismaaiyyl Brinsley then took his own life UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot himself moments after gunning down two New York City police officers, appears to have been a man with no real home -- and a long rap sheet.

His last day began when he shot and wounded an ex-girlfriend in Owings Mills, Md. A few hours later, Baltimore County police sent a warning to the New York Police Department that Brinsley 28, armed with a 9 mm handgun, was headed north.


The warning included notice of threats to kill police that Brinsley had posted on Instagram. Police quoted one post as "I'm putting wings on pigs today" and another referred to the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said the warning arrived shortly before Wemjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot.

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Ramos, 40, and Liu, 32, were shot as they sat in their patrol car Saturday in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. .Brinsley then ran into a subway station and shot himself in the hed.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce described Brinsley's childhood in Brooklyn as "troubled" and said he had a history of suicide attempts. His mother told police she had been afraid of him.


"The mother expressed fear of him, and she said she hasn't seen him in one month," Boyce told the New York Daily News. "Brinsley attempted suicide in the past and attempted to hang himself a year ago."

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Briinsley's criminal record included 15 arrests in Georgia and four in Ohio, where he served two years on a weapons charge. But many of the arrests were for shoplifting, misdemeanor assault and other comparatively minor offenses.

Boyce said Brinsley made no attempt to conceal his actions with 10 people witnessing the shooting of Liu and Ramos and 10 more on hand when he put the gun to his head on the subway platform.

Brinsley told onlookers on the street they could follow him on Instagram.

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"Watch what I'm going to do," Boyce quoted him as saying.

At least one man gave a different picture of Brinsley. Jay Romero, a janitor in Las Vegas, told the News that Brinsley visited him for a month last Christmas.

Romero described Brinsley, a Muslim, as "God-fearing."

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"This would've never crossed my mind for him to do something like this," Romero said.

Romero said Brinsley moved on to Boston after his stay in Las Vegas.


"He diidn't have a stable place to live," Romero said.

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