New York Police shootings: Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu named as two officers 'assassinated' in their patrol car

Policemen were shot dead in protest against chokehold head of Eric Garner

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New York police have identified the two officers who were shot dead in their patrol car in broad daylight on Saturday as father-of-two Rafael Ramos and newly-wed Wenjian Liu.

Commissioner Bill Bratton told a press conference the two men were “assassinated… targeted for their uniform” by a suspect who then ran into a nearby subway station and shot himself in the head.

“Both officers paid the ultimate sacrifice today while protecting the communities they serve,” said Bratton, leading tributes to the pair on Saturday night.

One of the men, Liu, had got married to his fiancée just two months ago. The 32-year-old’s parents and new bride met New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at the Brooklyn Woodhull Medical Center where both officers were pronounced dead last night.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio reacts during the police press conference

Ramos was a married father of two. A friend said he had one 13-year-old son and another at college. He celebrated his 40th birthday eight days before the shooting, on 12 December.

Between them, Liu and Ramos had served the department for 10 years, having joined in 2007 and 2012 respectively.

Rosie Orengo, a friend of Ramos, said: “He was an amazing man. He was the best father and husband and friend.”

Ramos was heavily involved in their church and encouraged others in their marriages, she said. “Our peace is knowing that he's OK, and we'll see him in heaven.”

A protester at the scene. New York has seen demonstrations from protesters angry over a decision not to take action over the death of Eric Garner (Reuters)

Another neighbour, Wendi Adams, told the website Newsday: “He was a very good guy; always tried to help out in the neighbourhood. It's a really sad thing. It's just sad. God bless him.”

De Blasio said last night that the killings of Ramos and Liu strike at the heart of the city.

“Our city is in mourning,” he said. “Our hearts are heavy. It is an attack on all of us.”

Speaking from Hawaii, where he is on holiday, President Barack Obama said: “The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day — and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day.

“Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.”