Wall Street Journal

July 5, 2017 7:43 p.m


Slain NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia Remembered For Her Kindness

The mother of three who wanted ‘us to take care of everybody,’ joined the force at 36 years old

By Mike Vilensky, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Mariana Alfaro

At left, New York Police Department Officer Miosotis Familia, shown in this undated photo, was fatally shot early Wednesday. PHOTO: NYPD/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Miosotis Familia joined the New York Police Department when she was 36 years old, hoping to help protect the city where she had spent her life.

Ms. Familia had worked for the Red Cross, said a family member and an associate, but she wanted to do more.

“There’s always one in the family that wants us to take care of everybody,” said Tonya Sanchez, a childhood friend from Washington Heights whose sister married Ms. Familia’s brother.

On Wednesday shortly after midnight, Ms. Familia was fatally shot in the head while sitting in a mobile-command post vehicle in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx.

Shortly afterward she died at a hospital. The mother of three was 48 years old.

New York Police commissioner James O’Neill called the incident an “unprovoked attack.”

A New York City Police officer is embraced after a moment of prayer was held in front of the 46th Precinct in the Bronx where Officer Miosotis Familia worked. PHOTO: CLAUDIO PAPAPIETRO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The suspect, Alexander Bonds, was shot and killed by police officers. He had been on parole for prior arrests.

Relatives said Ms. Familia was born in the U.S., and raised in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. She later moved to the Bronx.

Ms. Familia studied at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice before becoming a police officer. A spokesman for John Jay confirmed that she attended the Manhattan school, but didn’t graduate.

A Red Cross spokesman couldn’t confirm Ms. Familia’s work there, saying its records might not date back to the late ’90s. “This has proved challenging to verify,” he said. “Our hearts go out to her family and the NYPD.”

Friends, family members, and co-workers described Ms. Familia, who was assigned to the 46th Precinct in the Bronx, as upbeat and spontaneous.

She came from a Dominican-American family, and was a member of the New York Dominican Officers organization. “She was very kindhearted,” said Raysa Galvez, an NYPD detective who belongs to the group.

Ms. Sanchez recalled playing in Washington Heights parks with Ms. Familia when they were young, and staying close throughout their lives, even after Ms. Sanchez moved to Florida.

She would walk in a room, and say, “ ‘Let’s get the party started,’ ” Ms. Sanchez recalled.

On Wednesday, friends and relatives gathered at Ms. Familia’s apartment in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx across the from the Fort Independence Playground. The quiet residential area borders the Jerome Park Reservoir.

For most of the day, officers stood guard at the corner building where Ms. Familia lived, bringing in supplies and water for the family.

Bunting hung from above the entrance to the New York City Police Department's 46th precinct in the Bronx on Wednesday after a gunman fatally shot Officer Miosotis who was assigned there.  PHOTO: MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Meanwhile, a 15-minute drive from Ms. Familia’s home, debris from the previous night’s July Fourth celebrations was strewn on the ground, as police cars blocked the crime scene area and neighbors consoled each other.

Yolanda Robinson, a 44-year-old resident who lives on the block where the shooting occurred, said she was concerned about the neighborhood becoming more dangerous recently.

“With the drugs and the gangs, it’s a complete change,” Ms. Robinson said. “A lot of people felt safer to see officers around—they say hello, very friendly.

“You got your good ones, you got your bad ones, but they’re doing their job. And for them to lose their lives for someone who just comes up to them and shoots them for no reason, it makes no sense,” she added.

Write to Mike Vilensky at mike.vilensky@dowjones.com and Zolan Kanno-Youngs at Zolan.Kanno-Youngs@wsj.com

Appeared in the July 6, 2017, print edition as 'Slain Officer Put Life on Line to Serve.'