New York shooting: mother of gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley 'deeply sorry'

Shakwura Dabre offers condolences to families of slain patrolmen

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The mother of the man accused of the “execution-style” shooting of two New York police officers broke down and sobbed as she extended her condolences to the families of the slain patrolmen.

Shakwura Dabre, the mother of 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, told reporters: “I still wish to extend my condolences to those families because they’re grieving and I’m grieving also at the loss of my son. I am deeply sorry about what happened at the hands of my son.’

Ms Dabre, said she had learned she had learned about the incident from the mother of her son’s child, who has sent her a message on her phone, telling her to turn on the news. She raced home and turned on her computer to scan the news and saw an image of her son lying on an emergency stretcher.

“I knew he was dead when I looked. I knew. He was gone. I knew he was my son,” she told the DNAInfo website. “I didn’t know about the police because I was so torn when I saw him on the stretcher. I found out too that he did that and I was horrified.”

Ms Dabre, 54, from Brooklyn, said her son had suffered from mental health issues all his life and had tried to kill himself as a teenager. He spent a number of years in an institution. Yet she said she also remembered him as a charming young man.

On Monday, police said Brinsley had posted a total of 119 messages on social media, many of them containing elements of “self-despair" and some that were “anti-government”. New York City Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce had previously revealed that Brinsley had numerous run-ins with the authorities and had been arrested at least 15 times.

Police said they were looking into Brinsley’s background and were trying to trace his movements on Saturday morning. Police said that some time before 6am, Brinsley had shot and injured an ex-girlfriend in Baltimore before he posted some messages on her Instagram account.

He wrote that he planned to put “wings on pigs” and suggested he was acting in revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City.

Police said they had traced most of Brinsley’s movements and had located CCTV footage of him at the Barclays Centre arena in Brooklyn about three hours before he approached a patrol car outside the Tompkins Houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood and shot dead the officers. Officials believe he discarded his phone at the Barclays Centre.

The officers who were killed before Brinsley took his own life have been identified as Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu. In the aftermath of their killings, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has been at the centre of intense criticism that he has failed to do sufficient to protect police.

The head of one of the main police officers’ associations said that Mr de Blasio had “blood on his hands”. On Saturday, when Mr de Blasio left a press conference at the Brooklyn hospital where the two patrolmen’s bodies had been taken, dozens of officers turned their back on the mayor.

On Monday, seeking to draw a line under the controversy, Mr de Blasio called on both sides to stand back and to think, for now, only of the families of the two officers. He said he would attend the funeral of Mr Ramos, which is due to take place on Saturday. On Monday, Mr de Blasio also again met with the families of both men.

“It’s a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests,“ he said. “I would ask that any organisation that were planning gatherings for politics or protests - that could be for another day.”