The man who ambushed a New York officer in a parked police vehicle earlier this week, gunning her down with a shot to the head, had been acting erratically in recent weeks and was “paranoid the police were following him,” an official said Thursday.
Alexander Bonds’s behavior had become so worrisome that his girlfriend called 911 in the hours before police say he shot and killed officer Miosotis Familia in the Bronx. But Bonds kept ducking out of sight, eventually reemerging to use a stolen gun, said New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.
The grim account contributed to the emerging picture of Bonds, who had sprinkled his Facebook page with news stories and commentary about police misconduct.
For some, the portrait brought to mind similar ambushes that police say have been carried out by men who raged against police officers — including the gunman who killed five law enforcement officers in Dallas one year ago Friday.
“Make no mistake about it: Officer Familia is dead because of one reason and one reason only,” New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill at a briefing Thursday. “And that’s Alexander Bonds and his hatred of police.”
The recent killings of law enforcement officers mark an uptick in line-of-duty deaths. Familia is among 24 officers fatally shot this year, up from 22 at the same point in 2016, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that tracks line-of-duty deaths. Four of those killings were ambush attacks, the group said.
Last year, there were 64 officers killed in shootings, up from 41 fatal shootings a year earlier and accounting for nearly half of all line-of-duty deaths nationwide.
Overall, law enforcement line-of-duty deaths have declined since the 1970s.
“These incidents are not new,” William J. Bratton, a former New York police commissioner, said in an interview Thursday. “They have always been a part of policing. … But when they do occur they attract an enormous amount of attention.”
Familia’s death reverberated far beyond the quiet Bronx community where she lived, sending a chill through law enforcement officials in the city and across the country.
On Thursday afternoon, politicians and public figures walked in and out of the brick apartment building where Familia lived with her twins, mother and a cat. Neighbors said they often saw the single mother at the playground across the street with her two youngest children. She also has a 20-year-old daughter, according to O’Neill.
Just after 11 a.m. Thursday, the 12-year-old twins emerged with several relatives and piled into a waiting NYPD van near the curb. A family friend explained they have business to attend to — the grim after work of a family death.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, called Familia “a brave officer who just went out to do a day’s work in uniform, her job like so many others.”
“Unfortunately a vicious mad man took her life,” he said. “That’s a terrifying possibility every officer faces each day. But on days like this becomes painfully real.”
Familia was a 12-year veteran of the police department. Neighbors said they rarely saw her in her uniform, but Hector Payan, whose brother lives not far from Familia’s building, said Familia had talked about the meaning she found in her work of keeping people safe.
“She told me it was amazing work and I think around here, we appreciated it and I hope she knew that because that was a good lady,” he said. “She was really a part of this neighborhood.”
SOURCE: Janell Ross and Mark Berman
The Washington Post