Wall Street Journal

Upd. July 5, 2017 2:33 p.m.


NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia Fatally Shot in the Bronx

Police Commissioner James O’Neill calls the incident ‘an unprovoked attack’

By Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Mike Vilensky

A New York City Police officer shared an embrace after a moment of prayer in front of the 46th precinct in the Bronx on Wednesday. Officer Miosotis Familia, who was fatally shot, had been assigned to that precinct.  PHOTO: CLAUDIO PAPAPIETRO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A New York Police Department officer was shot and killed in the Bronx while in her vehicle shortly after midnight Wednesday, NYPD officials said, in what commissioner James O’Neill called “an unprovoked attack.”

The officer, Miosotis Familia, 48 years old, was a 12-year veteran of the department and a mother of twins and a 20-year-old daughter, law-enforcement officials said. She was assigned to the 46th precinct in the Bronx.

The officer was sitting in a police vehicle on East 183rd Street near Creston and Morris avenues at about 12:30 a.m. in Fordham Heights when she was shot in the head. Law-enforcement officials identified the suspect as Alexander Bonds.

Mr. Bonds was seen on video walking toward the vehicle and tightening his hood before firing one shot at the officer from a silver revolver, a senior law-enforcement official said.

Officer Familia died at St. Barnabas Hospital early Wednesday, officials said.

An officer and a sergeant shot and killed the suspect one block away after Mr. Bonds drew the revolver, the officials said.

A bystander also was hit during the encounter with the suspect and is in stable condition.

Officer Familia was in an NYPD mobile-command post when she was struck, police said. The NYPD deploys the large vehicles to locations that have recurring crime throughout the city. They usually are staffed 24 hours a day.

Commissioner O’Neill and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared at a news conference at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Barnabas Hospital after meeting with Officer Familia’s family.

“It’s such a painful reality at just the end of a very, very good thing,” Mr. de Blasio said hours after the city’s July Fourth celebration. “A female police officer attacked out of nowhere.”

A video posted on Mr. Bonds’ Facebook page in September of 2016 criticized police treatment of residents and correction officers’ treatment of prison inmates. He referred to police in derogatory terms in the video.

“This horrific and senseless assassination is a devastating reminder of the risks these brave men and women face each day,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a written statement.

This incident was similar to the shooting of two police officers in December 2014, when Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were killed while in their patrol car in Brooklyn.

The last member of the NYPD shot and killed in the line of duty was in November 2016, when Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, 41, was shot in the head during a gunbattle with a heavily armed suspect in the Bronx.

Mr. Bonds previously had been arrested in January 2001 for assaulting a police officer in Queens with brass knuckles, a senior law-enforcement official said.

A street in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx where NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia was fatally shot early Wednesday morning.  PHOTO: MARY ALTAFFER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

According to the senior official, Mr. Bond’s other arrests include: Narcotics-related crimes in 2001 and 2002; subway fare evasion in 2005; and robbery in 2005.

Mr. Bonds violated his parole in 2006 and was in prison until 2013 when he was released, the senior official said.

Mr. Bonds was set to be on parole until 2018, officials noted.

“This kind of violence against police officers cannot stand,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. “We need the public’s help.”

Outside Officer Familia’s home on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, a man who identified himself as Carlos, the officer’s brother-in-law, said in Spanish, “She was an excellent woman.”

Police officers walked past the shattered window of an NYPD vehicle where Officer Miosotis Familia was fatally shot early Wednesday in the Bronx.  PHOTO: SETH WENIG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“The family is completely devastated,” he said.

Officers guarded the entrance to Officer Familia’s corner building, only letting in residents and her relatives.

Tonya Sanchez, 49, of Miami, said her sister is married to Officer Familia’s brother. Ms. Sanchez said she grew up with Officer Familia in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

“She was honored to be a cop,” Ms. Sanchez said. “She will really be missed. I just feel so sad for her children. That’s the hardest part.”

Isabel Roman, a family friend from Manhattan, said she’s known Officer Familia for more than 30 years. In Spanish she said Officer Familia’s mother ”has huge pain.”

Ms. Familia became a police officer “to help the community…She was a very happy woman,” Ms. Roman said.

Stores around the crime scene remained closed on Wednesday, as police tape surrounded the block in Fordham Heights.

Yolanda Robinson, 44, who lives in the neighborhood, said she initially thought the gun shots were July Fourth fireworks. “It’s sad that an officer, a person, lost their life for something stupid,” Ms. Robinson said. “It breaks my heart.”

—Mariana Alfaro contributed to this article.