The silver Taurus semi-automatic pistol that Ismaaiyl Brinsley used to murder two police officers and then take his own life was originally sold by a pawn shop in Georgia in 1996, before the killer had turned 10.
The police have not been able to trace the gun after that long-ago sale, and we are left to imagine it out there somewhere, perhaps sitting in a drawer, maybe passing from hand to hand, retaining its terrible potential.
That potential was unleashed on NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu on Saturday afternoon, four bullets leaving Ramos’s two sons without a father and Liu’s new wife a widow.
Brinsley dashed to a subway station, quite possibly the one he had just used to arrive in the neighborhood from the downtown Brooklyn mall where he was caught on videotape.
When he was confronted by police on the southbound platform, Brinsley fired a final bullet into his own head.
He was now 28. The gun had been sold when he was 9 lay beside him.