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Story highlights

Officer Miosotis Familia shot in the head while in marked vehicle in the Bronx, authorities say

NEW: Police commissioner says Familia was assassinated

New York CNN —  

A New York police officer of 12 years and mother of three was fatally shot early Wednesday as she sat in a command vehicle in the Bronx, authorities said.

Miosotis Familia, 48, was shot in the head shortly after midnight while she and her partner were in a marked police truck. She was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she died, the New York Police Department said.

O’Neill said she was “assassinated in an unprovoked attack on cops.”

Police encountered a male suspect, Alexander Bonds, 34, running about one block from the scene. The suspect drew a gun as officers confronted him, and he was shot and killed by police, O’Neill said.

A silver revolver recovered at the scene was stolen more than four years ago in Charleston, West Virginia, an NYPD source familiar with the investigation told CNN. The gun had two used cartridges in it and two live rounds, the source said.

Dispatch audio of the moments after the shooting reveal Familia’s partner frantically calling for help.

“Shots fired!” the officer said. “Give me a f****** bus!”

Familia worked in the 46th Precinct, which tweeted out a photo of the officer.

The suspect, also known as John Bonds, was arrested in Syracuse in July 2005 for robbery in the first degree, the Onondaga County district attorney said.

Suspect’s background

Alexander Bonds, also known as John Bonds, in a 2013 correctional photo.
New York State Department of Corrections via AP
Alexander Bonds, also known as John Bonds, in a 2013 correctional photo.

Bonds received an eight-year sentence, with five years of post-release supervision, and was transferred to Elmira state prison in 2006, according to a statement from the district attorney.

He also had a criminal record for sale of a controlled substance in New York state, Thomas Mailey, spokesman for the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, said.

He went to prison in March 2004 for illegal drug sales, but was out by January 2005, when he was arrested in the Bronx for entering the subway without paying a fare, Bronx District attorney spokeswoman Patrice O’Shaughnessy said.

’Pain and heartbreak’

Familia had three children, the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said.

“Fully knowing the dangers that she faced, she suited up in uniform every day and stood tall against those who threaten and terrorize the good folks of the Bronx,” the union said in a statement.

A friend, Isabel Roman, said Familia is the mother of a 20-year-old and 12-year-old twins.

“She was a very jovial, happy person,” Roman said.

Carlos Corporan, Familia’s brother-in-law, said she was an excellent woman and the family was “completely devastated.”

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Familia was “murdered in a cowardly, unprovoked attack,” and he alluded to other recent ambush-style attacks on police such as those in Dallas and Iowa.

“This murder in cold blood is a tragedy, and sadly it is the latest in a troubling series of attacks on police officers over the past two years,” Sessions said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Familia and the actions of officers who responded to the shooting.

“She was on duty, serving this city, protecting people, doing what she believed in and doing the job she loved,” de Blasio told reporters. “After this sudden and shocking attack, her fellow officers came to her aid immediately.”

US Sen. Chuck Schumer called the shooting “terrible news,” and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said all New Yorkers “share in the pain and heartbreak caused by her death.”

The commissioner sent a letter to the members of the NYPD, calling the killing an assassination. She was “murdered for her uniform and for the responsibility she embraced,” O’Neill said.

He told the officers he knows their jobs can sometimes seem thankless. After a terrible tragedy it can seem like cops are on their own, he wrote, but they are not, they are a family.

“Always remember that Officer Familia lived to protect us, and her legacy protects us still,” O’Neill wrote. “We pray that she now finds rest, and that her three children find solace and peace. And to every member of the NYPD, watch out for one another and always remain safe.”

CNN’s Eric Levenson wrote and reported from New York, while CNN’s Keith Allen and Jessica Suerth wrote and reported from Atlanta. CNN’s Nicole Chavez, Chris Boyette, Maria Santana, Kristina Sgueglia, Ellie Kaufman, Sarah Jorgensen, Brynn Gingras, Lauren Del Valle, Steve Almasy and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.