-- Following Saturday's shooting that left two New York City police officers dead, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton wrote a touching letter in which he called the slain cops "loving fathers, husbands, and sons -- points of great pride for their communities."
Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were sitting in their vehicle in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday when a man approached the car on the passenger side and opened fire, killing them both, police said.
The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself after having posted anti-cop messages on social media, police said.
Bratton also wrote that the deaths "cast a dark cloud on the rest of our holiday season."
This is Bratton's complete letter, which was posted today on the police department's website:
They are attempting to answer for themselves questions about who we are, what we do, and how we do it.
But the men and women of this Department know exactly who we are: we are Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. They were loving fathers, husbands, and sons -- points of great pride for their communities. They were also part of our NYPD family, bonded by the experiences, triumphs, and challenges we face so that others won’t have to. They dedicated their lives to the defense of others, and understood what that commitment could ultimately mean. They were people of faith, of conviction, and of principle. They answered the call to service, and did so each and every day they wore the uniform. They were devoted to the protection of this city and the safety of its people.
They didn’t do this work to be thanked, congratulated, or admired. They did it because it must be done, because we all have the basic right to live free from fear. And with all of us, they stood tall to guard those who cannot guard themselves, to shield the frightened, the weak, and the vulnerable. We are their memory. We are their legacy. And we still stand.
These deaths cast a dark cloud on the rest of our holiday season and the flags will remain at half-staff past Christmas. But as we mourn their sacrifice, we also honor them through the work we do every day. May God grant Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos rest. And may God bless the New York City Police Department."