r_drewek/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police are asking for the public's help in determining what the man who killed two police officers this weekend was doing in the hours before the Saturday-afternoon attack.
Shooter Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who later killed himself, arrived in New York via Bolt Bus at 12:07 p.m. Saturday, and police said Monday they are still trying to piece together his whereabouts and interactions until he attacked Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu at 2:47 p.m.
"We owe it to the family," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at a news conference Monday afternoon. "We owe it to them to find out what happened."
Police released new surveillance footage of Brinsley, 28, at the Atlantic Center Mall, which is attached to the Atlantic Avenue subway station in Brooklyn.
The video shows him carrying a white plastic bag, containing a Styrofoam container, that police believe is where he stored the gun for much of the day.
One of the investigators said police believe Brinsley spent much of his time in the Fort Greene and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods of Brooklyn before the attack, although they do not know whether he spoke to anyone and, specifically, whether he told anyone what he was going to do.
Investigators also indicated that they are taking a detailed look at his history, combing through his 119 Instagram posts that included a video from Dec. 1 in which he observed a protest against police brutality connected to the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.
Meteorologist Patrick Crawford KCEN/Facebook(HOUSTON) -- Texas meteorologist Patrick Crawford appeared in public for the first time since he was gunned down last week, thanking supporters and saying that he still has no idea who ambushed him outside of the TV station where he works.
"There was no interaction whatsoever," he said, contradicting earlier reports that Crawford, who works for NBC affiliate KCEN-TV in Bruceville-Eddy, exchanged words with the gunman before the shooting.
"He started shooting me as I was leaving the parking lot. There was no interaction and I did not know him."
Crawford, who wore a blue Superman T-shirt and sat in a wheelchair at Monday's press conference, said he is "slowly getting better."
"It's been a long process, a lot of pain," he said.
Crawford, whose wife is a meteorologist at the same station, asked for privacy for his family.
Dr. Matthew Davis, trauma director at Baylor Scott & White Hospital, said he expects Crawford to be home in time for the holidays.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Emerald Garner, whose father Eric died after police used a choke hold on him during an arrest, came to the New York City Police Memorial on Monday to express her condolences following the deaths of two NYPD officers who were gunned down over the weekend.
"I just had to come out and let their family know that we stand with them, and I’m going to send my prayers and condolences to all the families who are suffering through this tragedy," she told ABC News. "I was never anti-police. Like I said before, I have family that’s in the NYPD that I’ve grown up around, family reunions and everything so my family, you know, we’re not anti-police."
The FBI and the NYPD are separately investigating the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a law enforcement official briefed of the situation told ABC News earlier this month. A Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo on any criminal charges stemming from Garner's death on July 17.
The killing of the two NYPD officers on Saturday "was a mental health crisis," Emerald Garner said. "It didn’t have anything to do with race or anything -- it was a mental health crisis and he was dealing with [it] personally and didn’t have the proper way to express his anger."
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for protesters to put their activities on hold until after the funerals of the two NYPD police officers who were shot to death in Brooklyn Saturday.
"I think that's the right way to try to build towards a more unified and decent city," the mayor said at a Monday afternoon news conference.
He added: "There's never been a doubt in my mind that we’re working towards a day that there is greater harmony between police and community."
As for the gunman, New York Police Department Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Monday there's "nothing in the investigation up until this point that would lead us to believe that he was anything but a solo actor," adding that none of the copycat threats has proven to be of any significance.
Earlier in the day, de Blasio had urged people to set aside politics and protests to support and comfort the families of the two slain NYPD officers who are “suffering unspeakable pain.”
It’s time for those of different viewpoints to “put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside everything we will talk about in due time while two families try to piece their lives back together,” he said at a gathering of the Police Athletic League before Monday afternoon's news conference.
The remarks were the mayor’s first public comments since the police union said he had blood on his hands over the Saturday shooting deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. De Blasio avoided a direct confrontation over the incendiary rhetoric.
He said the Liu and Ramos families “experienced the worst possible moment a family could.”
He called the incident "an attack on democracy, an attack on our values, an attack on every single New Yorker."
The mayor and commissioner also visited the families of the fallen officers earlier on Monday, three days after both men died in the attack in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The pair did not speak to reporters as they entered and exited Ramos' home.
The Ramos family said they would welcome de Blasio at Ramos’ funeral in spite of an effort started by the largest police union last week -- before the shootings -- to have officers sign petitions to keep the mayor from their possible funerals.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had stopped by Liu's home moments before de Blasio and Bratton.
Meanwhile, Ramos' funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Christ Tabernacle Church in the Queens neighborhood of Glendale, after the viewing service there Friday evening.
iStock/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- A former Milwaukee police officer will not face criminal charges in connection with the killing of unarmed man in April, the county prosecutor announced Monday, determining that the shooting was a justified use of deadly force in self-defense.
Dontre Hamilton, 31, was shot 14 times by Officer Christopher Manney, after the two got into a violent struggle in a downtown Milwaukee park.
“This was a tragic incident for the Hamilton family and for the community,” concluded the report by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. "But, based on all the evidence and analysis presented in this report, I come to the conclusion that Officer Manney’s use of force in this incident was justified self-defense and that defense cannot be reasonably overcome to establish a basis to charge Officer Manney with a crime.”
The April 30 incident began with an employee of a Starbuck’s coffee kiosk calling police to complain about Hamilton sleeping in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee.
Two other Milwaukee officers had responded to the call and determined, after speaking with Hamilton, that he was not causing a disturbance. Manney later retrieved a voicemail referencing the complaints about Hamilton and went to the park to respond -- apparently unaware that the other officers had already contacted him.
The prosecutor’s report cites more than a dozen witness accounts from bystanders who saw the majority of the incident, which apparently began while Manney was checking Hamilton for weapons, and then quickly escalated, though the accounts differ on which man was the aggressor.
Manney claimed in his statement to investigators that Hamilton had been the aggressor -- lunging and punching at him as the officer was attempting to pat him down -- and ultimately gaining control of the officer’s baton, according to the cops account in the report.
“[Hamilton] lunged at him and tried to strike him with a fist,” the report says in summarizing Manney’s statement. “Officer Manney blocked the punch and struck Hamilton with an open palm to the chin. Hamilton then grabbed Manney in the shoulder area, pulled him towards him and struck him [Manney] in the right head area. Manney felt he was losing control and decided to escalate to his intermediate weapon, a wooden baton.”
Manney told investigators Hamilton then struck him in the neck with the baton and that he fired his weapon because he feared Hamilton would continue to attack him and that he “would be dead” as a result, according to the prosecutor’s report.
The officer claimed the initial shots did not seem to have any effect on Hamilton, so he continued to fire “because he perceived Hamilton still to be a threat.”
In a statement following the prosecutor’s announcement, Hamilton’s family said they are “extremely disappointed” with the prosecutor’s decision.
The family is now calling on the Department of Justice to open a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting.
“This is a case which cries out for justice, criminal charges against Christopher Manney, and accountability to Dontre Hamilton’s family,” attorneys for the family said in the statement.
Manney was fired by the Milwaukee Police Chief in October, but not for use of excessive force. He was found to have violated department rules in the moments prior to the shooting. Manney had appealed his termination.
On Monday morning, the U.S. Attorney announced that it would untake a federal review of the case. Following Chisholm's announcement that he would not seek criminal charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office said that it will aim to "determine if under federal civil rights law, there is a basis, both legal and factual, upon which a federal civil rights prosecution may be premised."
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police officials are now recommending that academy trainees not wear their uniforms in public, or any other clothing associating them with the NYPD.
The cadets have been informed of this so-called soft recommendation in light of the shootings of two police officers Saturday, which police commissioner Bill Bratton described as "assassinations."
Officials described the move as a common-sense precautionary step because they have also been assessing a number of copycat threats since the initial attack.
Former Det. Sgt. Joe Giacalone, who spent one of his 21 years on the force training cadets directly, said many of the police academy cadets normally wear their uniforms to and from work but they, unlike full-time officers, are unarmed.
"It doesn't matter who is wearing the uniform. It's the uniform itself [that] is the target," Giacalone told ABC News. "The police department, because it's under siege, has to worry about protecting their own lives first."
It's not just cadets in uniform who have to worry about being associated with the NYPD, Giacalone said, because NYPD T-shirts and hats are regularly worn by those not on the force.
Giacalone said he told his father, who he said regularly wears an NYPD baseball hat to support his son, to keep the hat in the closet for the time being.
"I don't want anybody taking a potshot...and his only relationship is that he's my father," Giacalone said.
The dress-code warning is not the only precaution the NYPD is taking on Monday. Auxiliary officers, who are unarmed, are not being used until further notice, and every patrol has been assigned two officers.
The latter directive largely applies to foot patrols, now meaning that officers will go out in pairs when on those shifts.
Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Community leaders and family members gathered in Brooklyn Sunday night for a memorial service to remember the two NYPD officers who were shot point-blank and killed in their patrol car Saturday afternoon while patrolling Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.
Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot point-blank and killed while sitting in their parked patrol car.
New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said Officers Liu and Ramos were sitting in their vehicle shortly before 3 p.m. when a man approached the car on the passenger side, took a "shooter's stance" and opened fire.
Liu and Ramos may have not even seen the gunman before they were shot, Bratton said.
"Officer Liu and Officer Ramos never had the opportunity to draw their weapons," Bratton said. "They may never have actually seen their assailant, their murderer."
Police said the suspect -- identified by police as Ismaayil Brinsley, 28 -- then ran to a nearby subway entrance, with cops in pursuit, the commissioner said.
Brinsley went down into the subway and ran onto the platform, where he shot himself in the head, killing himself, Bratton said.
Police believe Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore earlier in the day, and then posted "anti-police postings" on her Instagram account, the police commissioner said.
Police in Baltimore alerted the NYPD about Brinsley after finding the post and seeing that his phone pinged from Brooklyn, but their message arrived about the same time the shootings occurred, Bratton said.
Authorities say Brinsley traveled to New York by Bolt Bus, a discounted fare coach.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Sunday that moments before Brinsley shot and killed the two officers, he told bystanders to "watch what I'm going to do.”
Liu, 32, had gotten married just two months ago. Ramos, who had just turned 40, was a police officer for two years, fulfilling what Bratton said was a lifelong dream of being a cop. Before joining the NYPD he had been a school safety officer.
Brinsley has 19 prior arrests in his criminal history in the states of Georgia and Ohio. He also had what family described as "undiagnosed mental problems." His estranged mother said he had a troubled childhood, was violent, and she told police she "feared him."
President Obama released a statement Saturday condemning the killing of the two officers. “Two brave men won't be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification,” the president’s statement read.
“The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day -- and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day. Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal -- prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen," the statement concluded.
Lucy Ramos, the aunt of slain police officer Rafael Ramos speaks at a news conference, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (ABC News)(NEW YORK) — Family and friends of one of the New York police officers who were shot dead in what officials call an "assassination" this weekend spoke out Sunday night for the first time since the attack, praising him and calling for calm.
Officer Rafael Ramos, who was fatally shot while sitting in his patrol car alongside his partner Officer Wenjian Liu, "will always be loved and missed by many," his aunt Lucy Ramos said Sunday.
She, like other community leaders who appeared with her at a press conference, called New Yorkers and police to come together "so that we can move forward and find an amicable path to a peaceful coexistence."
Juan Rodriguez, who was a friend of Officer Ramos' for 20 years and serves as the community council president for the 75th precinct, said he doesn't "want the city of New York to think everyone is against the police department."
Though he didn't go as far as the leader of the city's largest police union -- who has been in an escalating standoff with Mayor Bill de Blasio and who Saturday said that the mayor has "blood on his hands" for the deaths of these officers -- Rodriguez was critical of de Blasio and urged him to "please show your leadership."
Tensions have been rising between police and de Blasio ever since he spoke at length after the Eric Garner grand jury decision about the ways that he taught his biracial son to approach police tentatively.
"What about if that was your son who got shot in the police car? What if it was your son who got shot in the head?" Rodriguez said at Sunday night's press conference.
Rep. Nydia Velasquez, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and other community leaders also spoke at the press conference, which was held in front of Ramos' home.
iStock/Thinkstock(TARPON SPRINGS, Fla.) — Residents of Tarpon Springs, Florida, dropped off bouquets of flowers at their local police station Sunday to memorialize an officer who was shot and killed earlier in the day.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says veteran Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charles Kondek, a father of five, was shot around 2 a.m. while responding to a noise complaint about a man banging on doors at an apartment building complex.
According to investigators, when Kondek arrived and exited his vehicle, the suspect, identified as 23-year-old Marco Antonio Parilla, walked towards the officer and opened fire.
Sheriff Gualtieri said Officer Kondek was wearing a bullet-resistant vest but “the round went in high above the bullet-resistant vest in his neck area, hit his spine and that was it.”
Police say Parilla got behind the wheel of a car and ran over Kondek as he fled the scene. Officer Kondek, 45, died from his injuries at a local hospital.
Parilla, who has a lengthy criminal record, was caught after a brief police chase and charged with first-degree murder.
The Tarpon Springs Police Department said Kondek was a 17-year veteran of law enforcement who had previously served five years with the New York Police Department before moving to Florida.
Courtesy Montgomery Family(PHILADELPHIA) — Keys belonging to a missing college student in Pennsylvania were discovered in the Schuylkill River, his uncle said Sunday.
The family of Shane Montgomery, 21, confirmed to ABC station WPVI-TV that divers found the keys near the river bank -- the first physical clue to emerge in Montgomery’s Nov. 27 disappearance.
“They discovered a set of keys in the water. They brought them to the surface and brought them to us. I identified them as Shane’s,” his uncle Kevin Verbrugghe told WPVI-TV.
The keys were recovered in the river -- not in a nearby canal where earlier searches were concentrated, Verbrugghe said.
The keys were attached to an Eagles lanyard.
“It’s just a piece to the puzzle. The puzzle is definitely not done,” Verbrugghe told WPVI-TV.
Montgomery, a student at West Chester University, hasn’t been seen since leaving a bar in Philadelphia’s Manayunk section early Thanksgiving morning after a night out with friends. The reward in Montgomery’s disappearance is now $65,000.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock(EASTPOINT, Fla.) — A Florida teen is recovering Monday morning after being attacked by a bear.
Leah Reeder, 15, sustained injuries to her legs, back, neck and face, her mother Sherry Mann told ABC affiliate WMBB.
“Even as I sit here now, I can’t believe it happened,” Mann said. “The bears are all over the place, and I know how hard I would fight to protect my kids, but a momma bear can do so much more damage than me with just one swipe.”
The attack happened near dusk Sunday in Eastpoint, Franklin County, on Florida’s panhandle. Mann told WMBB that her daughter was walking her dog when the bear attacked, dragging the teen into a ditch.
Her daughter “played dead” and the bear retreated, Mann said. The girl sustained deep wounds across her face, but Mann said her daughter remained upbeat.
“She managed to crack a few smiles at me before she went in for surgery,” Mann told WMBB.
Florida Fish and Wildlife authorities received a report of the encounter and worked to trap the bear Sunday.
Cliff McBride/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) — Eleven people were hurt Sunday afternoon by a lightning strike in the parking lot of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at the conclusion of an NFL game between the Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers.
Authorities say it wasn’t a direct hit but was close enough to people leaving the stadium to knock several down.
A spokesman for Tampa Fire-Rescue said four of the injured drove themselves to the hospital while the other seven were transported by ambulance.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A man who fatally shot two New York police officers before killing himself told bystanders to "watch what I'm going to do" moments before the attack, according to police investigators.
The man, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, approached two strangers in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, asked them about their gang affiliation, told them to follow him on Instagram, and then told them to watch his actions, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Sunday.
He then approached a parked police patrol car and fired four shots, fatally hitting officers Wenjain Liu and Rafael Ramos.
A clearer picture of Brinsley started to emerge as Boyce released details about the shooter's troubled history and his attack on his ex-girlfriend in Maryland that started the violent day, which ended with his suicide on a subway platform.
Boyce said that Brinsley gained access to his ex-girlfriend's apartment in the early hours of Saturday morning using a key "he's not supposed to have."
The ex-girlfriend, who Baltimore County Police identified as Shaneka Thompson, called her mother during the confrontation with Brinsley and she overheared part of the argument, but the call ended before Brinsley shot Thompson in the abdomen, Boyce said.
Brinsley fled the scene with Thompson's phone and proceeded to call Thompson's mother multiple times in the coming hours. Investigators have since spoken to Thompson's mother who says that he told her "he shot her by accident and that he hopes she lives," Boyce said.
The young woman's mother contacted Baltimore police and they were able to track his journey based on the route of her phone as he took a BoltBus to Manhattan, the chief of detectives said.
Boyce said Brinsley discarded the phone at 12:07 p.m., a little over an hour after arriving in New York. That left police with a less than three-hour gap in his activity between the time he ditched the phone and the moments before he shot the police officers.
In addition to finding records of 19 arrests in two states -- Georgia and Ohio -- investigators have spoken to a number of Brinsley's relatives, many of whom said they were estranged from the 28-year-old.
Brinsley's mother lives in Brooklyn and said that he had a troubled childhood and was often violent, Boyce said.
His mother said that he had attempted suicide in the past and she had not spoken to him in the past month. She also indicated to police that she believes he has undiagnosed mental problems and she did not know whether he was on medication.
According to Boyce, she told police that she was afraid of him.
Boyce said that while Brinsley's social media accounts showed posts expressing anger at the government, flag burning and explicitly mentioning the names Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police do not believe that he had any gang affiliation. He was raised in a Muslim family but his mother told police that he did not show any extremist inclinations.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The man accused of killing two New York City police officers execution-style as they sat in their patrol vehicle promised his attack ahead of time, indicating on social media that he was doing so because the police-involved deaths of two African-American men earlier this year.
Ismaayil Brinsley shot officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos with "no warning, no provocation" shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.
Police believe Brinsley, 28, shot his ex-girlfriend in a suburb of Baltimore earlier in the day and then posted "anti-police postings" on her Instagram account, said Bratton.
"I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today," read the post, which included a picture of a handgun. "They Take 1 Of Ours...... Let's Take 2 Of Theirs."
The post also mentioned Eric Garner and Michael Brown, two men whose deaths have led to heavy criticism against police nationwide. In New York, Garner died after an officer put him in a chokehold while stopping him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, while Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, over the summer.
Police in Baltimore alerted the NYPD about Brinsley after finding the post and seeing that his phone pinged from Brooklyn, but their message arrived about the same time the shootings occurred, Bratton said.
The last Facebook post made by Brinsley seemingly foreshadowed a violent ending, reading: "I Always Wanted To Be Known For Doing Something Right....... But My Past Is Stalking Me And My Present Is Haunting Me."
After shooting the two NYPD officers, Brinsley went down into the subway and ran onto the platform, where he shot himself in the head, killing himself, Bratton said.
Records show Brinsley has been arrested several times in New York, Georgia, and Ohio, with charges including robbery and assault.
Brinsley's mother was distraught after learning of the shooting, according to Tony Lindsey, her property manager.
"She's very upset and actually she's pretty much finding out about this whole thing on social media, which is horrible," Lindsey said. "The family is grieving and they're still trying to cope with what's happening."