Two New York City police officers were shot to death Saturday Dec. 20, by a career criminal who drove from another state with the intent of killing them.

Officers Wenjian Liu, 32 and Rafael Ramos, 40, were shot around 2:45 p.m. while patrolling near a housing complex in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, according to news reports.

The shooter, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, bragged on social media about wanting to kill cops in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Brinsley, 28, shot the officers while they sat in their squad car.

After the killing, Brinsley, who is black, fled to a subway station and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Earlier that morning, Brinsley shot his 29-year-old ex-girlfriend in the town of Owings Mills, Maryland, about 15 miles from Baltimore, before heading to New York. She’s expected to survive.

According to news reports, Brinsley’s criminal past stretched back a decade, including arrests in Ohio and Georgia for such crimes as battery, shoplifting and carrying a concealed weapon. The cop killings were an act of revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police, according to Brinsley’s disturbed messages on social media. The families of Brown and Garner have come out to condemn him and the killings of the police officers.

In Chicago, Austin pastor Ira Acree released a similar statement:

“I am so saddened and disturbed at the hideous violent act committed by a gunman in New York that claimed the lives of two police officers. This action that caused these two unnecessary deaths is beyond reprehensible.  This is not the way that a civilized people fight systemic racism. I talk to people from all walks of life every day and many people still believe that the office of police is still an honorable profession and a much-needed entity within our society, and therefore should be given the utmost respect.

“As our country heals from these tragic events, I urge everyone to do three things for now:

  • Condemn anyone who plans on committing any violent acts, whether the target is law enforcement or civilians.
  • Pray and support all police. They leave home every day not knowing if they will return.
  • Organize and advocate in a civil manner as we fight for systemic and structural change, and to redeem America from her greatest moral sin, racism.

The violence must cease, increase the peace.