NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police union leaders and city elected officials are blaming what they say is a lack of support for NYPD officers in the line of fire after a suspect allegedly staged two attacks targeting cops, first Saturday night in a street ambush and then on Sunday morning inside the 41st Precinct in the Bronx.
One officer was wounded in each attack, which took place during a 12-hour window. The suspect, who police said has a criminal history that includes a past gunfight with police in 2002, was captured Sunday after the precinct house shooting.
“It is only but the grace of God and the heroic actions of those inside the building that took him into custody that we are not talking about police officers murdered inside a New York City police precinct,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
“We have to understand this as a city, as a nation, our entire society has to understand: An attack on a police officer is an attack on all of us, it’s an attack on a democratic society, a decent society,” Mayor Bill de Blasio added. “It’s intolerable, and we will not accept it. We will fight back with everything we have, because we have to protect not only New Yorkers but everything that we believe in this city, a place where everyone can live in peace and decency and mutual respect.”
At press conference late Saturday night, Shea had called the first shooting “an assassination attempt at two New York City police officers,” language again echoed by de Blasio on Sunday morning.
“We need to use that word, because it was a premeditated effort to kill — and not just to kill other human beings, but to kill those who wear a uniform that represents all of us,” the mayor said.
NYPD OFFICER SHOOTINGS
- Gunman Opens Fire In Bronx Precinct, 1 Officer Wounded
- Video: Multiple Views Of Gunman’s Attack On 41st Precinct In The Bronx
- NYPD Officer Shot Saturday Night Released From Hospital
- Union President Blasts Anti-NYPD Protests After Gunman Targets Cops
- 2 NYPD Officers Ambushed Saturday Night On Bronx Street
Shea compared the current public climate involving the recent J31 protests and this shooting to what happened in 2014 with anti-police demonstrations ahead of the murders of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
On Jan. 31 of this year, a group seeking to abolish subway fares and get rid of police patrols in the New York City transit system organized protests in Grand Central Terminal and train system vandalism that featured strong anti-police messages.
“We’ve got protesters yelling, ‘We want dead cops,'” Police Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch said on Sunday. “Those words meant something, and people listened and they tried to kill cops.
“This city is sliding and it’s happening rapidly. If this can happen this many times in 12 hours, what’s going to happen next on the streets? What’s going to happen at subway and bus stops?” Lynch continued.
Back in 2014, protests were also reported prior to NYPD officers Ramos and Liu being shot dead as they sat in their marked patrol car at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Tompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The 28-year-old suspect in that incident ran into a nearby subway station where he shot himself in the head.
“This is a reminder to the residents of the city of New York: There are people like this out there,” the NYPD Lieutenants Benevolent Association’s Lou Turco said of the suspected shooter. “He’s a career criminal. If he has the audacity to shoot at officers in uniform, guess what he’s doing to the civilians of this city. There’s a lot of these people out there.
“We need to get in front of this criminal justice reform,” he added. “We need to work together to fix this thing. Because right now, the city of New York’s residents are in danger because of this.”
“It is a double miracle that we are not preparing for two funerals right now,” Lynch said. “These targeted attacks are exactly what we have warned against, again and again. The hatred and violence directed at cops continues to grow. Good luck and kind words are not enough to keep police officers or the public safe. Our elected officials need to start listening to us and working with us — not against us — to fix the deteriorating environment on our streets.”
Asked if police and community relations are good, Mott Haven resident German Rivera told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez, “A lot of the cops aren’t the targets of people’s hatred in protest, but it’slike as as a whole, we look at police as a whole, and sometimes maybe we shouldn’t look at them as a whole. Because we feel the same way about ourselves. We don’t want to be lumped in one category.”