The family of fallen NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia was left stunned following her shooting death in the Bronx Wednesday morning, according to her sister.
Familia had only switched from working at central booking to overnight patrols in the 46th Precinct about three weeks ago, her sister, 39-year-old Adriana Sanchez, said.
“She wanted to spend the day time with the kids. It’s their vacation time,” said Sanchez, a medical technician in New Jersey. She described Familia as a “very happy person” who was “always laughing.”
Familia, who lived in Kingsbridge with her 86-year-old mother, was sitting in an NYPD command vehicle near Morris Avenue and East 183rd Street around 12:30 a.m. when police said Alexander Bonds walked up to the window and opened fire.
The 48-year-old officer was shot in the face, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said, and rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital in critical condition. She was later pronounced dead.
Familia, a 12-year veteran of the force, was the third female officer killed in the line of duty in modern times and the first since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She leaves behind three children, a 20-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.
“I’m totally numb. I don’t believe this is happening,” Sanchez said, adding that Familia’s twins have expressed similar feelings. “I’m just so grateful to the NYPD. They’ve been so supportive.”
Familia was one of 10 children – with six sisters and three brothers, according to Sanchez. Carlos Corporan, who is married to one of Familia’s other sisters, said the family is “devastated.”
“She was loved,” Corporan said. “The family is very devastated.”
Familia graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2009, and previously worked as a medical assistant at New York University Hospital and the American Red Cross, according to her LinkedIn profile. She first joined the NYPD Police Academy in 2002 but withdrew from training, only to return again in July 2005, according to police.
“That’s what her dream was, to become a police officer,” Sanchez said. “She said she wanted to protect the city from all those crazies, and look what happened.”
Familia had some medical training, police said, but was not a registered nurse or an emergency medical technician, though she could help in a limited way in an emergency room. She was also certified as a phlebotomist, according to police.
Outside of the 46th Precinct where Familia worked, officers with sullen faces exchanged hugs and consoled one another. Flowers lined the steps of the precinct station on Ryder Avenue, just blocks from where Familia was killed. Purple and black striped bunting was draped across the front entrance.
Marie Espinal, 35, whose husband works at the 46th Precinct, arrived at the police station with flowers to mourn Familia, who she described as a friend.
“She was a good mother, a good worker, and she really cared about this community,” Espinal said.
Asked why Familia wanted to be a cop, Espinal said “She just wanted to be saving the world. Be there for her community. Do better.”
O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped by the precinct for about 45 minutes Wednesday afternoon to offer their condolences to Familia’s colleagues. The pair left without speaking with reporters.
Maria Santiago, 77, who has lived near the 46th Precinct since 1981, arrived at the police station with eyes puffy from crying.
Santiago said she had gotten to know Familia over the years during the officer’s regular patrol of the area, and wanted to come to the police station to pay her respects.
“She was very sweet. She was very gentle,” Santiago said with tears in her eyes, adding that Familia would greet her whenever they ran into each other in the neighborhood.
The flags at City Hall were lowered to half-staff in Familia’s honor Wednesday afternoon.
Back in the Bronx, neighbor Altagracia Nivr said she spoke with the slain officer just three days ago. She said Familia was a good person and had “no enemies.”
“She asked me ‘how’s the little one,’ and I said she’s doing fine,” Nivr recalled. “She was a good person … Every time I saw her she said good morning. And every morning we would talk.”
Nivr said their children went to the same school, nearby PS 95.
“Every morning I see her at the school dropping off her kids,” Nivr said. “She didn’t deserve this. She was a very, very excellent person.”
The New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, also known as Answer the Call, announced it would provide Familia’s family with $25,000.
“The tragic death of Officer Familia is another grim reminder of the dangers that the brave men and women of the NYPD face every day to keep us safe,” said Answer the Call board chairman Stephen Dannhauser. “New Yorkers take care of their own and we pledge to never forget Officer Familia, her sacrifice, or her family.”
The organization will also assist the family with financial support every year until Familia’s children turn 21.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is also accepting donations to help Familia’s family. The organization was formed to honor a Brooklyn firefighter who died while on duty on September 11, 2001. To donate, visit here.
Following the shooting, Bonds, 34, fled down the street, but responding officers quickly caught up with him about a block away. Bonds then drew his weapon and the officers opened fire, fatally shooting him, O’Neill said.