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Ismaaiyl Brinsley's Mother 'Horrified' Her Son Shot Police Officers

By  Trevor Kapp and Aidan Gardiner | December 22, 2014 2:21pm 

 Shakuwra Dabre, Ismaaiyl Brinsley's mother, offered her condolences to the families of the NYPD officers her son killed.
Shakuwra Dabre, Ismaaiyl Brinsley's mother, offered her condolences to the families of the NYPD officers her son killed.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

EAST NEW YORK — Shakuwra Dabre was running errands Saturday in Bedford-Stuyvesant when sirens flooded the air after two officers were shot. She immediately thought of her son.

"I saw the police cars. I saw the helicopters and instantly my mind went toward Ismaaiyl," the weeping 54-year-old mother of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot two NYPD officers as they sat in their car, said from her East New York home Monday.

Dabre, though, had no idea that 28-year-old Brinsley had just taken his own life after fatally shooting officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40.

"I got a text from the mother of his child," Dabre said. "She said ‘Call me as soon as you get this.'"

She raced home and opened up her laptop to scan the news when she saw a photo of a man lying on a stretcher accompanying a story about the shooting.

"I knew he was dead when I looked. I knew. He was gone. I knew he was my son," Dabre said through tears.

"I didn’t know about the police because I was so torn when I saw him on the stretcher. [...] I found out too that he did that and I was horrified."

Dabre knew her son, who suffered some mental issues, was in turmoil, but the two hadn't spoken since July, she said. 

"He told me some things, but he didn't tell me everything. He was a 28-year-old man. He made his own choices," Dabre said.

She had no idea Saturday morning that her son had shot his ex-girlfriend Shaneka Nicole Thompson in a suburb outside Baltimore about 6 a.m. before he came to New York.

Brinsley hopped on a BoltBus that took him to Manhattan, where he boarded the subway and made his way to Bed-Stuy, posting threats to police on social media along the way.

Officers Liu and Ramos were sitting in their marked police car at Tompkins and Myrtle avenues about 2:45 p.m. when Brinsley came up behind them and opened fire.

Brinsley then ran onto the Myrtle-Willoughby G train subway station where he shot himself and died.

Dabre remembered her son as a social and funny "free spirit" who loved fashion. 

"He was a very charismatic, likeable young man. He was very intelligent. He was witty. If he could channel his energies properly, he could've grown up to be a very good outstanding young man. And I had high hopes for him," she said.

But Brinsley had also suffered from depression and anger management issues throughout his life, Dabre said.

He tried to kill himself when he was about 14 years old, was briefly institutionalized and at one point took medications that made him gain weight, she said.

"I wanted him to continue whatever they had him under, but he didn't want to and I couldn't make him," Dabre said.

Brinsley's family regularly tried to get him the help he needed, but he rebuffed them, his mom said.

"I still wish to extend my condolences to those families because they're grieving and I'm grieving also at the loss of my son," Dabre said. "I am deeply sorry about what happened at the hands of my son."