New York Police Department officer Miosotis Familia, who was also a mother of three children, was killed in the Bronx early Wednesday morning in what NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill has called an “unprovoked attack.” The suspect was identified as Alexander Bonds, who was shot and killed by two other officers called to the scene, police said.
“This is absolutely an unprovoked attack,” O’Neill said Wednesday morning.
The 48-year-old Familia was approached by the suspect at 12:30 a.m. ET, while she was sitting in a temporary headquarters vehicle at East 183rd Street and Morris Avenue in Fordham Heights, sources told the New York Post.
Familia’s LinkedIn page shows that she was a former Red Cross Medical Assistant and was a nurse at New York University Hospital before joining the NYPD.
After the shooting, she was rushed to St. Barnabas hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
“Officer Miosotis Familia spent 12 years protecting her community as a member of the NYPD and all New Yorkers share in the pain and heartbreak caused by her death,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “I offer my deepest condolences to Officer Familia’s loved ones and fellow members of the NYPD. Today, we all come together to mourn one of New York’s Finest.”
Here’s what you need to know about Familia. This post will continue to be updated.
1. Familia Was Shot While Sitting in a Vehicle Positioned in the Bronx Because of a Previous Shooting
The shooting happened just after 12:30 a.m. at the Morris Avenue, East 183rd Street intersection. Familia was sitting in a marked, temporary headquarters vehicle that was placed there after a recent shooting, ABC7 reports. Police also had an increased presence in the area since March due to gang activity, CBS News reports. New York police also took extra precautions for the July 4 holiday.
Police sources told ABC News that there is surveillance footage, which appears to show the suspect “purposefully” walking up to the vehicle and shooting at the passenger side. ABC7 reports that she was writing notes at the time, so she might not have seen Bonds coming.
“Based on what we know now, it is clear that this was an unprovoked direct attack on police officers who were assigned to keep the people of this city safe,” police told Pix11.
Joshua Lopez, a 17-year-old who witnessed the shooting, told the New York Times that he was shooting off fireworks with friends when he saw the police arrive. He didn’t hear the gunshots, but he saw dozens of officers arrive at the shooting.
Another witness, Roma Martinez, told the Times that he thought he was hearing fireworks, not gunshots, at first. “Within two or three minutes, the streets were completely filled with officers. After, we all left. The party was over,” he told the Times. Martinez said that he did not personally know Familia, but heard that she was “a good police woman” who also spoke Spanish.
2. Suspect Alexander Bonds Was Killed by 2 Officers Responding to Familia’s Partner’s Call for Backup, Police Say
Police told the Post that the two officers who arrived were Sgt. Keith Bryan and Officer Joseph Ayala. The anti-crime team confronted him a block away from the scene when he pulled out the revolver again.
The two officers shot and killed the suspect, identified as Alexander Bonds. Police said a silver revolver was was found near Bonds.
3. A Bystander Was Also Struck in the Shooting & Is in Stable Condition
Police said a bystander was shot in the stomach during the confrontation between Bonds and the two police officers, reports the Post. The bystander was shot in the stomach and is in stable condition at St. Barnabas. The person’s identity was not given.
Police told the New York Daily News that it’s not clear if the bystander was injured by the suspect’s gunfire or the officers’. However, they confirmed that the person is not connected to Bonds.
Another witness, Jay Marzelli, told the Daily News that he was in a nearby bodega when he saw between 40 and 60 police officers yelling for a paramedic and telling people to clear the area.
“It looked like there was a riot going on and two seconds later I hear gunshots, ‘bam, bam’ and then the police officer was just lying there in front of the stationary precinct — right here on Creston,” Marzelli said.
4. Familia Was a 12-Year NYPD Veteran & a Mother of 3 Children
Police said that Familia was a 12-year veteran of the force. She was assigned to the 46 Precinct in the Bronx.
Pix11 also reports that Familia is a mother of three children. They were rushed to the hospital to be with their mother and were with her when she died.
In a press conference, Mayor Bill De Blasio praised Familia, saying she was “serving this city protecting people, doing what she believed in and the job she loved.” De Blasio added, “After this shocking and sudden attack, her fellow officers came to her aid immediately.”
Familia’s LinkedIn page also shows that she was a medical assistant for the American Red Cross in Greater New York from September 1997 to February 1999. From August 1999 to July 2004, she was a nurse and medical assistant at New York University. In June 2005, she joined the NYPD.
In 2009, Familia earned a B.A.Sc. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She also had a degree from the Ohio State University College of Medicine.
“She was quiet and very into her family,” a source told the New York Post. “She adored her children. She was a good cop and well liked by everyone who worked with her.”
Nephew John Cuello told the New York Times that Familia would “set anybody straight,” adding that she was the family’s “warrior.” Cuello said that Familia had a daughter who is in college and a boy and girl who are twins. They lived in Kingsbridge Heights. After her death, her mother and most of her siblings went to her apartment to mourn their loss.
“She was a fighter, she was tough — and that was the job for her,” Cuello told the Times.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement:
“Police officer Miosotis Familia, the mother of three, gave her life protecting a neighborhood that had been plagued by gang gun violence. Fully knowing the dangers that she faced, she suited up in uniform everyday and stood tall against those who threaten and terrorize the good folks of the Bronx. As we mourn her death and support her family, friends and colleagues, we ask for your help. Violence against police officer cannot stand. When you see or hear someone making threats against NYC police officers you need to let us know, you need to be our eyes and ears. Police officer Familia now joins the exclusive ranks of women who have heroically served and died in the line of duty. We will keep her in our hearts and minds as we do all of the women and men who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the city they loved.”
5. Suspect Bonds Was Out on Parole for a Syracuse Robbery
The New York Times reports that the suspect was identified as 34-year-old Alexander Bonds, who also used the name “John Bonds.” As “John Bonds,” he served seven years in prison for a Syracuse robbery. State records show that Bonds was paroled in May 2013 and his supervisor was in the Bronx.
The Times reports that he was living at a homeless shelter on East 53rd Street. Police told the Times that there was no evidence that he knew Familia.
A source for The New York Daily News said that Bonds has up to six different aliases and “spoke critically of law enforcement on an unspecified social media site.” He “said police in Oakland, Calif., were wrong to stop a child riding a bicycle,” the Daily News’ source said. The source also told the newspaper that Bonds was arrested for assaulting a police officer with brass knuckles.
“Let’s be clear. This was nothing less than an assassination of a police officer,” the Daily News’ source said. “Our understanding is she was filling out her memo book and he walked out and fired one round.”
The Times reports that Bonds posted a video on Facebook in September 2016, in which he complained about prison conditions and said he said he wouldn’t hesitate in a confrontation with police. “I’m not hesitating. It ain’t happening. I wasn’t a bitch in jail and I’m not going to be a bitch in these streets,” he said in the video, which was reviewed by police.
Familia’s death is similar to other ambush-style killings on police officers. In November 2016, two Iowa police officers were ambushed and killed in Des Moines.