It’s hard to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” without an audience. “NYPD: Cop ambush killer told passers-by to watch,” by Tom Hays, Associated Press, December 21, 2014:
NEW YORK (AP) — The gunman who fatally ambushed two New York City police officers in their squad car had a long criminal record, a hatred for police and the government and an apparent history of mental instability that included an attempt to hang himself a year ago, police said Sunday.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley approached people on the street moments before opening fire and asked them to follow him on Instagram, then told them to “watch what I’m going to do,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
A portrait of the shooter emerged as big-city police departments and union leaders warned officers to change up their routines and insist on extra backup a day after Brinsley carried out what he portrayed online as retaliation for the slayings of black men at the hands of white police.
Investigators were trying to determine if Brinsley had taken part in any protests over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, whose names he invoked in his online threat, or simply latched on to the cause for the final act of a violent spree. Police said he had no gang affiliation.
Brinsley, 28, had at least 19 arrests in Georgia and Ohio and a troubled childhood so violent his mother was afraid of him, police said. Brinsley had also ranted online about police and government and expressed despair about his own life, Boyce said.
Boyce said Brinsley’s mother believed he had undiagnosed mental problems and may have been on medication later in life but detective said they were still trying to determine if he had a mental illness.
Brinsley approached a squad car from behind and fired four shots, fatally wounding officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, before running into a subway station and ultimately killing himself.
Hours earlier, Brinsley had shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend at her home outside Baltimore then made threatening posts online, including a vow to put “wings on pigs,” and references to a pair of police-involved deaths that have sparked racially charged protests across the country….