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Man Who Shot NY Police Officers Had Record of Violence, Mental Problems


A 2009 photo provided by the Springfield, Ohio, Police Department shows Ismayyil Brinsley after an arrest on a robbery charge.

A 2009 photo provided by the Springfield, Ohio, Police Department shows Ismayyil Brinsley after an arrest on a robbery charge.


A top New York City police official says the man who killed two officers Saturday had a record of violence and mental problems.

Ismayyil Brinsley shot officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in their police car in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. He then ran into a nearby underground train station and shot and killed himself.

Earlier, Mr. Brinsley had posted anti-police and anti-government messages on the social media website Instagram. He wrote that he was angry about recent decisions by two separate juries not to charge white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men.

Relations between the public and police have worsened since the grand juries’ decisions. There have been numerous protests in the past several weeks against those decisions and about the killing of blacks by police.

Sunday night, many of those activists gathered with police in New York City to mourn and honor the dead officers.

Mr. Brinsley was black. The officers he killed were Asian and Hispanic.

Police say Mr. Brinsley had attempted suicide several times.

Robert Boyce is Chief of Detectives for the New York City Police Department. He told reporters that Ismayyil Brinsley’s family said he had a difficult childhood and was often violent. His mother said he was from a Muslim family, but he did not have anti-Western beliefs.

The police official also said Mr. Brinsley had been arrested almost 20 times for crimes including stealing and making threats. He said the man was not close to his family. He said Mr. Brinsley’s mother was afraid of her son and had not seen him in a month.

Ismayyil Brinsley shot and wounded his former girlfriend in Baltimore Maryland, a few hours before the police officers were killed. Baltimore police warned New York City officials that Mr. Brinsley had threatened New York police officers on a social media website. But New York City police Commissioner William Bratton said his department received the warning too late to stop the attack.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Christopher Cruise wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

record n. an official written document that gives proof of something or tells about past events

borough n. one of the five main sections of New York City

copy v. to do the same thing as (someone)

How are relations between citizens and police where you live? How do officials in your country deal with people who have records of violence and mental problems? We want to hear from you. Write your thoughts in the comments section.

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