NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD and the community are mourning the death of Officer Miosotis Familia, who authorities said was fatally shot overnight in an “unprovoked” attack in the Bronx.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, family members gathered in Fordham, the Bronx to hear words of prayer and comfort from community leaders at a prayer vigil. It was a sorrowful gathering for a life lost.
“No officer should ever be ambushed trying to do his or her job,” a woman said at the vigil. “Officer Familia, she has done for us more than we will ever acknowledge.”
The community tied to help Familia’s family cope with their tragic loss.
“He 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’s senseless.”
But nearly a day after she was slain, the pain of Familia’s loss was still felt by many citywide.
“One family, one family — but today, we’re here for Miosotis and her family,” a man said as she led the vigil. “They’re right here suffering!”
Meanwhile, black and purple bunting now hangs over the 46th police precinct, where Familia worked the midnight shift, as a makeshift memorial for the fallen officer continues to grow.
“I brought a candle, because I support her,” resident Maria Ramos told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “She was a nice cop. They didn’t have to go out like that. Come on, we all human, we all bleed the same.”
The 46th precinct posted a photo of Familia on Twitter with the words “End of Watch.”
On Twitter, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Familia was “assassinated in an unprovoked attack on cops assigned to keep NYers safe.”
“Keep her family in your prayers,” he said.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, colleagues said Familia knew the potential dangers of her job, but was determined to stand tall against those who threatened and terrorized the Bronx.
The 12-year veteran of the force, was a single mom who leaves behind three kids — young twins, a boy and girl, and an older daughter.
“It’s sad, very sad,” a neighbor said.
Before she became a cop, Familia worked as a nurse in a hospital, and as a medical assistant at the America Red Cross in New York.
Familia joined the force at the age of 36, and routinely worked the midnight shift — the same shift she was working when she was killed in her police cruiser.
Her friends said she knew the work was dangerous, but it never discouraged her.
“She loved it. She knows it’s a little dangerous, but she loved it,” a friend said.
She also brought an inherent decency to the job according to Mario Flores who was given a summons by Familia last week.
“She handed me the ticket, but with a smile, and I had to smile back because she was very respectful,” he said.
In a statement, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said Familia “gave her life protecting a neighborhood that had been plagued by gang gun violence”
“Police Officer Familia now joins the exclusive ranks of women who have heroically served and died in the line of duty,” Lynch said. “We will keep her in our hearts and minds as we do all of the women and men who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the city they loved.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the “horrific and senseless assassination is a devastating reminder of the risks these brave men and women face each day.”
“I offer my deepest condolences to Officer Familia’s loved ones and fellow members of the NYPD,” the governor said in a statement. “Today, we all come together to mourn one of New York’s Finest.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio called it “such a painful reality.”
“She was on duty, serving this city, protecting people, doing what she believed in and doing the job she loved,” he said.
Police said Familia was shot in the head while sitting in a mobile command vehicle with her partner at East 183rd Street and Morris Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Her partner quickly radioed for help.
The suspect, identified as 34-year-old Alexander Bonds, ran from the scene. Officers shot and killed Bonds after police said he drew a revolver.
Familia was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where she later died.
Wednesday morning, a motorcade arrived from the hospital to the medical examiner’s office where a waiting crowd of NYPD officers saluted their fallen friend.
Meanwhile, a steady stream of police officers with black ribbons covering their badges have been walking into her home in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, paying their respects to her family.
Friends say Familia loved her job, despite the dangers.
“I can’t believe it,” friend Altagarcia Nivar told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris. “I was just talking to her three days ago. She was just over there in her car. I can’t believe it.”
When it came to police work, helping others came naturally to Officer Familia. She was a well-known and well-liked presence in the neighborhood, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
She issued Mario Flores a ticket on June 11.
“It was like 90 degrees and I had an open container of beer. She said, ‘take it home, don’t be out here.’ But she gave me the ticket with a smile though,” he said. “This is her neighborhood, you know and the thing is that she’s out here protecting us. And look, for what?”
Luella Hatch said Officer Familia was a good person who always wanted to help.
“It’s kind of sad because this didn’t have to happen,” she told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “This is crazy.”
Familia worked as a nurse at NYU Langone Medical Center and as a medical assistant for the Red Cross before joining the NYPD in her mid-30s, Diamond reported.
Police said she spent her entire career as an officer in the Bronx and had no prior contact with Bonds.