NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police are looking for a motive behind the ambush of NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia as new surveillance video shows the moments before and after the deadly shooting in what authorities have called an “unprovoked attack.”
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, the shooter visited Saint Barnabas Hospital just days before the deadly attack to seek mental health treatment, but was quickly released.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has now ordered a state investigation into the hospital’s policies while Officer Familia’s family continues to grieve.
“Under tragic circumstances such as these, it is critical to ensure all proper procedures and safeguards were taken. At my direction, the state Department of Health and Office of Mental Health are launching an immediate review of St. Barnabas Hospital’s actions and policies in admitting, treating and discharging this individual,” Cuomo said in the statement. “This review will determine if all relevant state laws, regulations and guidelines were followed.”
Officer Familia was killed while sitting in a NYPD mobile command vehicle Wednesday on East 183rd Street in the Bronx.
In new surveillance video, the man who police say is 34-year-old Alexander John Bonds can be seen going up to the passenger side of the vehicle before firing a single shot at Officer Familia, then ducking out and running across 183rd Street, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
Familia’s partner frantically radioed for help. Moments later, the first responding police patrol cars get to the scene. Soon, dozens of officers swarm the area.
Seconds later, some of the officers begin to run off toward Morris Avenue. That’s where officers had caught up to Bonds, shooting and killing him when he pulled a stolen revolver, police said.
“We believe that he fired once killing the officer, and then fired again on Morris Avenue at police officers. We have a witness who says he fired at the two officers who stopped him, who then returned fire,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
Later, an ambulance arrives to take Officer Familia to the hospital, where she later died.
Police confirm that two 911 calls were made on July 4 by Bonds’ girlfriend, just hours before the shooting. She reported that Bonds was mentally ill and was acting irrationally and wandering around.
Both times police were dispatched with an ambulance for a welfare check, but both times Bonds had left by the time they arrived. The girlfriend was asked both times if Bonds was armed and dangerous, and both times she said he was not armed to her knowledge.
“We have a search warrant in the house, we found several bottles of medication, we are not sure if he was taking them or not, anti-depressants, anti-psychotic drugs,” Boyce said.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, Boyce also said the suspect had been suffering from mental health problems in the weeks leading up to the murder.
“He was paranoid the police were following him and he felt EMS was also following,” Boyce said.
Boyce said Bonds’ girlfriend called 911 two and a half hours before the shooting, reporting that he was acting erratically. Police went looking for him.
“Each time they passed by, Mr. Bonds would duck out of sight and hide from them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lenslina Smith and her daughter are remembering Officer Familia, who had become a familiar face in the community.
“I wanna cry about it. It’s really sad what’s going on,” she told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “We walk past the truck all the time. Sometimes she smile.”
Familia’s body was escorted from the medical examiner’s office, along the East Side, to a Bronx funeral home on Thursday, it was guided by an NYPD helicopter, and saluted by FDNY firefighters along the way, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
On Wednesday, Officer Familia’s loved ones and members of the community remembered the 48-year-old mother of three in the very spot where she was shot and killed.
“She’d give you the shirt off her back,” said Tom Ritter, who lived downstairs from Familia. “She was the sweetest person you ever want to meet.”
“Took the life of a person that was such a beautiful person without even knowing that she was a beautiful person,” said former coworker Jay Rodriguez. “It was senseless.”
A 12-year NYPD veteran, Officer Familia worked her entire police career in the Bronx precinct where she was killed.
“Officer Familia was murdered for her uniform and for the responsibility she embraced,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said in a message to officers Wednesday night. “For the NYPD, regularly achieving lower and lower crime figures means absolutely nothing when one of our own is brutally shot and killed.”
A replacement mobile command unit is now stationed at the scene, where some have brought flowers and candles in tribute while noticing a more visible presence of police.
But in this area known for crime, residents say more needs to be done.
“I don’t know how long it’s gonna last,” one man said.
Bonds had a violent history and had vented his anger about police in a Facebook video last September. Rambling that law officers got away with killing and abusing people, he warned them to leave him alone or “we gonna do something.”
“I’m not playing, Mr. Officer. I don’t care about 100 police watching this,” Bonds said in a Facebook page otherwise filled largely with inspirational quotes and quizzes.
“It’s time for people to wisen up,” he added.
He had been released in 2013 after being sentenced to eight years in prison for a 2005 armed robbery in Syracuse. He had other arrests, including one in 2001, when as a teenager he was accused of attacking an officer with brass knuckles.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the shooting “the latest in a troubling series of attacks on police officers over the past two years.”
The vehicle that Officer Familia was in when she was shot was not bullet resistant.
All the NYPD’s new patrol cars have bulletproof glass and older vehicles are being fitted with window inserts to harden them against gunfire.
On Thursday, the mayor and NYPD announced that $1.3-million will go towards retrofitting all NYPD command vehicles.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered that all state flags be flown at half-staff in tribute to the fallen officer.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)