Families of slain NYPD officers speak out

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WABC) -- There are new details about the moments before the shooting deaths of two NYPD officers who were killed in the line of duty on Saturday.

The officers, Wen Jian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were eating lunch in their marked cruiser around 3 p.m. in Bedford-Stuyvesant near Tompkins and Myrtle avenues when both were shot in the head.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton visited the Brooklyn homes of the officers and met with their families.

The mother of the suspected gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, spoke out for the first time, offering her condolences to the families of the fallen officers. She said she's deeply sorry for their loss.

She declined Eyewitness News' request to go on camera but released an exclusive statement. It reads in part: "Ismaaiyl was a very troubled young man whose life was in turmoil and spiraling out of control. We were estranged for a few years, with occasional contact. I am deeply sorry for the loss of the two innocent men who were killed, and offer my sincerest condolences to their families."

Members of the Ramos family spoke outside their home Sunday evening.

"I would like to thank all those who have shared their sympathy and support for our beloved family member, Rafael Ramos, who will always be loved and missed by many," the victim's aunt, Lucy Ramos, said. "I hope and pray that we can reflect on this tragic loss of lives that have occurred, so that we can move forward and find an amicable path to a peaceful coexistence. We would like to extend our condolences to the Liu family, also. Thank you."

A wake for Ramos will be held Friday, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Christ Tabernacle Church on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the same location before interment at Cypress Hills Cemetery. Funeral plans for Liu have not yet been made public.

Sunday afternoon, Cuomo visited the families of the murdered officers, expressing his condolences and his support for the NYPD, but admitting he too is hard pressed for answers from devastated relatives.

Officer Wen Jian Liu

NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu, 32, was shot and killed along with Officer Rafael Ramos on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014.

In Gravesend, police stood guard outside of the house where officer Liu lived. His widow, Pei Xia Chen, spoke out on Monday evening saying, "This is a difficult time for both of our families but we will stand together and we will get through this together."

Liu was 32 and a seven-year veteran of the NYPD. He had gotten married two months ago. There is shock among those remembering their quiet neighbor who moved in a couple of years ago.

"He was a great neighbor, I have tears in my eyes when I heard about it," said Hanif Khan, a neighbor.

"We feel very sad for the family, I'm speechless," said Tamara Leokumovich, another neighbor.

Officer Rafael Ramos

Renee Stoll has the latest from Downtown Brooklyn.

Ramos was 40 and a two-year veteran of the NYPD. He worked as a school safety agent before fulfilling his dream of being a police officer. He was married and has a 13-year-old son. He just celebrated his birthday on Dec. 12.

Ramos' 13-year-old son, Jaden, said in a Facebook post that Saturday was the worst day of his life.

"Today I had to say bye to my father," Jaden wrote. "He was the best father I could ask for. It's horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help."

Rosie Orengo, a friend of Ramos, said he was heavily involved in their church and encouraged others in their marriages. "He was an amazing man. He was the best father and husband and friend," she said. "Our peace is knowing that he's OK, and we'll see him in heaven."

Both officers were assigned to the 84th precinct where along with black and purple bunting there are flowers and an outpouring of support. Members of the community have been bringing officers there food and coffee.
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