Officers’ Killer Took Aim at New York City of Today - NYTimes.com
by Jim Dwyer
On Saturday, a gunman shot his ex-girlfriend near Baltimore, then came to Brooklyn and opened fire into a police car parked on Tompkins Avenue.
Inside were Officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, one a Chinese-American, the other a New Yorker of Puerto Rican origin.
The killer was shooting at the New York City of 2014.
If you happen to walk the Macombs Dam Bridge, which crosses the Harlem River between the Bronx and Manhattan near 155th Street, you may notice a staircase that drops down to the street on the Manhattan side. Nearby are the Colonial Park Houses.
On a May night in 1971, two police officers, Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones, were killed in an ambush there, shot in the back multiple times as they returned to their car after answering a call. It is said that the staircase was used by a lookout for the killers, and as a getaway route.
An eighth-grade classmate of mine lived in those houses, and he called off plans for me to come by in the days after the shooting. His father said it was not safe.
Once or twice a year I walk across that bridge while coming home from Yankee Stadium and pass those stairs, and from the peaceful summer nights of 2014 think back to that moment and that world, more than four decades ago. That same week, two police officers guarding the home of the Manhattan district attorney were attacked with a machine gun; they survived critical injuries. Eight months later, two other officers, Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie, were assassinated as they patrolled the Lower East Side, gunned down from behind.
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