Once more the chilling scene: a police officer behind the window of an NYPD vehicle, and an assailant with a gun. Once again, an assassination.
On Wednesday NYC woke up to what Police Commissioner James O’Neill called the “unprovoked” attack on Officer Miosotis Familia, shot in the head after midnight in the Bronx.
It appears that Familia was targeted just as Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were in 2014, killed by a deranged man who came up from Baltimore intent on harming cops. This time it was a New Yorker, Alexander Bonds, a parolee who spent years in prison upstate on a robbery conviction, among other crimes. After his release, he relocated to a residence blocks from where he shot fellow Bronxite Familia, a few blocks more from the place where he died at the hands of Familia’s fellow officers.
What put Bonds on this tightly local path leading to this scene? A September 2016 video posted on Facebook shows him denigrating police officers and corrections personnel. His Facebook page also features videos and statuses about the difficulty of prison life, and his struggles to put that behind him. He killed Familia with one shot from a pistol that he pointed at the officers responding to the scene. How he got the weapon is unclear, but undoubtedly the details will not be surprising. It’s all too easy.
And why was Familia on her post? O’Neill said Wednesday the mobile command unit had been in place for months after shootings by gangs and others. It was a telling reminder of the realities of life in some pockets of NYC too often overlooked and ignored in the touting of declining homicide statistics, a neighborhood that some residents describe as still too violent, where many parents keep kids inside after dark. It’s also an area of the city where police presence is heavily felt.
Neither the violence nor the heavy police presence is the city norm, and on Wednesday that combination burst into wider view. It did so in the worst way, a shocking act of violence upon an officer at the end of her tour, a mother who won’t return to her three children.
Once again, another tragic, senseless scene.