Police interview ex-girlfriend of NYPD killings suspect Ismaaiyl Brinsley

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Jim Hoffer reports from Towsen, Maryland. (WABC)

The former girlfriend of the man who ambushed two NYPD officers after shooting her in Baltimore told investigators that he gave no indication that he intended to commit violence against police officers.

Shaneka Nicole Thompson, 29, remains hospitalized in critical condition at a local medical facility. She is expected to recover from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Thompson talked to one Baltimore County and two New York detectives for less than an hour Sunday evening.

Thompson said Ismaaiyl Abdula Brinsley, 28, unexpectedly showed at her apartment outside Baltimore, Maryland at 5:25 a.m. on Sunday. The two had been involved in a romantic relationship. The shooting, Thompson said, was preceded by a domestic dispute over the status of their relationship.

Contrary to unofficial reports, Brinsley did not have a key to Thompson's apartment. He somehow gained entrance to the lobby of the secured building and knocked on her door, which she opened.

At no time during the argument did Brinsley say he was planning to commit violence against police, Thompson said. Brinsley did not talk about police at all during the argument, she said. Police say Brinsley put the gun to his own head prior to the shooting, but Thompson talked him out of pulling the trigger. The dispute continued, which ended in gunshots.

Baltimore County Police say Brinsley then fled shortly before 6:00 a.m. and took her cellphone.

Investigators say at 6:32 a.m., Baltimore police began tracking the phone, and by 7:46 a.m., signals from the phone show a general location along I-95, near the Susquehanna River. They continued to track the phone north through New Jersey and to the Lincoln Tunnel.

At 1:30 p.m., detectives learn from the victim's family and friends for the first time of Instagram posts by Brinsley containing overt threats against police. Baltimore police quickly located the posts, which indicated that the phone was located in Brooklyn.

About 1:45 p.m., a "wanted" flyer was prepared for distribution to relevant law enforcement agencies - specifically, NYPD.

At 2:10 p.m., a detective from the Violent Crimes Unit telephones NYPD's 60th Precinct in Brooklyn to advise that a suspect wanted for a shooting that morning might be in New York and has posted threats against police. The Baltimore detective was directed to another Brooklyn precinct, the 70th Precinct, because the phone most recently had been tracked to that precinct.

Baltimore police say the detective spoke with a NYPD officer for about 30 minutes, providing all known details about the situation. During the phone call, the NYPD officer viewed the Instagram posts, which included photos of Brinsley.

The "wanted" flyer was faxed at 2:46 p.m. (In earlier posts, we reported that the flyer was sent at 2:10 p.m.; in fact, the flyer was sent after the conclusion of the phone conversation with NYPD that included viewing of the Instagram posts.)

By 3 p.m., Baltimore police said they were notified by phone from the 70th Precinct in Brooklyn that two NYPD officers were shot at 2:48 p.m.

According to the NYPD, before the shootings, Brinsley told passersby "Watch what I'm going to do."

Brinsley had 15 prior arrests in Georgia for various offenses including assault, shoplifting, grand larceny and gun possession. He also has four arrests in Ohio for robbery and misdemeanor threat. He served two years in prison in Georgia for criminal possession of a weapons and also had stints in local jails.

His family members say he had undisguised mental problems, and his estranged mother said he had a troubled childhood, was violent and that she feared him. When he shot himself Saturday, it wasn't his first attempt.

"He has attempted suicide in the past, and attempted to hang himself a year ago," police said.

Brinsley was born in New York and has prior arrests in Brooklyn also, officials said. A friend of Brinsley's mother said the family is trying to cope with the news.

"Pretty much finding out about this whole thing on social media, which is horrible, so she's asking that everyone respect her privacy right now," family friend Tony Lindsey said. "The family is grieving, and they're still trying to cope with what's happening. It was an estranged relationship."

Police say most of his postings and rants are on Instagram, where they saw a pattern of being angry with the government and police. There was one post where he burned a flag and made statements specifically mentioning Garner and Brown.

At this point, it does not appear that he had any gang affiliations.

Brinsley wrote on an Instagram account before Saturday's shootings: "I'm putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs."

Investigators say Brinsley was at a protest in Union Square on December 1, before a grand jury decided against charging a white officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. They say Brinsley recorded part of the protest on his phone, like other bystanders. Investigators are trying to determine if Brinsley latched onto the cause for the final act in a violent rampage.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Related Topics:
police shootingshootingpolice officer killedpolice officer shotnypdRafael RamosWenjian LiuIsmaaiyl Brinsley2 NYPD Officers KilledBedford StuyvesantNew York City
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