Alleged Cop Killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley Had a Death Wish

Nineteen arrests, three suspected murders, and one attempted suicide later, Ismaaiyl Brinsley is finally gone.

12.22.14 4:50 AM ET

Alleged cop killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley may have claimed that he was hunting police officers as a sort of twisted revenge for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, who both suffered tragic deaths at the hands of cops.

But Brinsley was more deranged loser than militant radical. A day after Brinsley allegedly shot to death two New York cops, a rough sketch of the killer is starting to emerge, pieced together from police sources and published reports. And it shows a suicidal, serial criminal who finally got his death wish in Brooklyn on Saturday.

As New York tries to process the assassinations allegedly committed by Brinsley, they’re causing a domino effect throughout the city. 

The New York Police Department’s longstanding auxiliary police detail (whose unarmed volunteers aid cops) temporarily has been put on hold; politically charged police union chiefs want no less than two units out on calls; and even some officers are publicly shunning their mayor over what they see as his wavering support for the department’s rank-and-file.

via Instagram

Brinsley was a 28-year-old with a long rap sheet: 19 arrests that landed him in the clink in two states: Ohio and Georgia, where he lived with his estranged sister. Some of the crimes were petty shoplifting busts. But Brinsley went away for two years in prison for weapons possession in August 2011.

According to The Wall Street Journal, while Brinsley was in custody in Cobb County, Georgia, in 2011, he marked “yes” to a questionnaire asking if he’d ever been admitted to a mental institution or been under the care of a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Brinsley got out of jail last July, and was desperate and aimless. He even tried to unsuccessfully hang himself last year, New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters in a Sunday press conference at NYPD headquarters.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, given his long criminal record, that he showed a disdain for the government and a hatred for the NYPD, police sources confirmed.

On his Instagram account (which has since been taken down), Brinsley made one reference to burning an American flag.

According to the man’s mother, who was recently interviewed by investigators at her Brooklyn home, her son endured a rough upbringing, in which violence was almost a mainstay.

Police sources confirm that Brinsley’s mom believed her son wasn’t diagnosed with a mental illness but he may have been on meds and possibly had mental problems that went undetected.

All the while, his run-ins with the law continued. A cellphone video believed to have been shot over a year ago and lifted off Brinsley’s now-deleted Facebook account documents Brinsley aboard a bus.

In the video, the bus is getting searched by a cop with a German shepherd.

Brinsley is seated toward the rear. Front and center is the dog’s snout sniffing at Brinsley’s bag.

Then, the plainclothes cop announces that he had probable cause to search Brinsley’s bag.

But Brinsley is unconvinced and the two trade terse responses. 

“He didn’t bark or anything,” Brinsley says.

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And the cop, likely trying to find a stash of drugs, has a nonplussed comeback, before ultimately directing Brinsley to quit recording.

“Have you been to dog K-9 training school?” the cop asks. “If you haven’t been, you probably don’t know how my dog indicates.”

Before he allegedly butchered two policemen in New York, Brinsley was wanted by Baltimore cops for gunning down his ex-girlfriend, Boyce said. Twenty-nine-year-old Air Force reservist Shaneka Thompson was shot at her Owings Mills, Maryland, home, early Saturday morning.

Apparently Brinsley gained entry with an illicit key and proceeded to argue with Thompson before he struck her down with a single shot.

Thompson’s grandfather, James Delly of Fayetteville, North Carolina, told The Wall Street Journal that he disapproved of Brinsley: “I’m shocked that my granddaughter would be associated with a guy of that mentality.”

After he fled that scene, Brinsley took a Bolt bus to New York—all the while beaming disturbing missives from his ex-girlfriend’s stolen iPhone.

Using the charged hashtags #Shootthepolice #RIPErivGardner[sic] RIPMikeBrown, he vowed on Instagram to put “wings on pigs.”

New York—and Brooklyn in particular—was familiar turf for Brinsley.

Not only does his mom live in Brooklyn, but he also has a child with a woman there. According to police sources, was believed to have visited New York City sometime last week. 

According to the local CBS New York affiliate, detectives were determining if Brinsley was in New York during a series of rallies and protests over the treatment of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Both were killed by police officers, but grand juries failed to indict in either case.

Sometime around 10 a.m. Saturday, Brinsley’s bus arrived in Manhattan. He bought two Metro subway cards. He swiped one of them to get from midtown Manhattan to Brooklyn.

According to police sources, the Baltimore Police Department was already tracking Brinsley though his ex’s phone as he traveled to the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets.

It was around noon that Brinsley chucked the phone behind a radiator at the basketball stadium and went off the grid.

Cops in New York, meanwhile, were alerted of the gunman’s arrival to town.

But by the time a critical wanted poster sent via fax arrived, more than two hours elapsed. According to a police source, that fax came in at 2:46 p.m.—literally a after before the fatal bullets flew.

“Tragically, this was essentially at the same time as our officers were being ambushed and murdered by Brinsley,” police reports say.

Brinsley came from behind a police cruiser parked on a busy street in the shadow of the Tompkins Public Houses.

According to Boyce, Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were sitting ducks as Brinsley allegedly announced his murderous intent to bystanders: “Watch what I’m going to do.”

At 2:45 p.m., as Officer Rafael Ramos was sitting in the front seat of their car and Officer Wenjian Liu was beside him in the passenger seat, Brinsley creeped up, steadied his stance, and with his silver semi-automatic Taurus fired several rounds through the front window panel, striking the officers’ with headshots. 

Neither officer had “the opportunity to draw their weapons,” according to police reports.

Both officers were rushed to Woodhull Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

After he allegedly unloaded on the cops, Brinsley attempted to make a getaway to a nearby subway.

Police sources told The Daily Beast that a few moments after the deadly rounds were fired, Con Ed utility workers bravely gave chase to snatch up Brinsley.

They waved down a pair of responding cops who followed the alleged cop killer into the subway.

A train had actually arrived at the station but its doors were already shut.

And Brinsley must have sensed he was doomed.

“’Oh shit,’” Brinsley squealed before turning his gun on himself, sources said.