A police officer with the NYPD was shot and killed in an ambush-style attack in the Bronx early Wednesday morning. Forty-eight-year-old Miosotis Familia was sitting in the passenger seat of a police vehicle with her partner at around 12:30 a.m. when Alexander Bonds, 34, allegedly walked up to her window and shot her once in the head before running away. Familia’s partner called for help, and two other officers caught up with Bonds about a block from the scene of the attack. Bonds was shot dead by police after he drew his revolver.
Familia, a mother of three who had been with the NYPD for 12 years, was pronounced dead at a hospital about three hours after the shooting. Her death was described by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill as an “unprovoked attack” and an assassination. It occurred as neighbors were wrapping up Fourth of July festivities.
According to the New York Post, Bonds was previously involved in an attack on a police officer in 2001; sources told the paper that he beat an officer in Queens while wearing brass knuckles. He later served about seven years in prison on a robbery conviction and was paroled in May 2013.
The attack on Familia closely echoed the murder of two NYPD officers in December 2014, when a man traveled to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn from Baltimore with the intention of killing police. In that attack, Ismaaiyl Brinsley walked up to a patrol car and shot Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos at point-blank range before killing himself.
Familia’s death rattled New York and its police force on Wednesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at a 2:30 a.m. press conference to condemn the attack, while Familia's fellow officers escorted her body from the hospital where she was ruled dead to the medical examiner’s office.
Deadly attacks on American police officers have become steadily less frequent over the past 40 years: According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, firearms-related officer fatalities reached a peak in 1973, when 156 officers were shot and killed, before dropping to an average of 87 per year in the 1980s, 68 per year in the 1990s, and 57 per year in the 2000s. In 2016, according to the NLEOMF, 64 officers were shot and killed, including five who were killed during the sniper attack in Dallas last July and three who were killed during a Missouri man's rampage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 10 days later.