The DEA Honor Roll
Official Line of Duty Deaths
Rafael L. Ramos
Rank: Detective, first grade
Shield Number: 9000
Command: 84 Precinct
Date of Death: 12/20/2014
Cause of Death: Assassinated
On December 20, 2014, in the confines of the 84th Precinct in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wen Jian Liu were on routine patrol sitting in their patrol car at the corner of Myrtle and Thompkins Avenues. A lone, 28-year-old gunman, who travelled to New York City from Baltimore with the intention of killing police, quietly snuck up on their patrol car and opened fire, intentionally killing them both. It was five days before Christmas. At the time, sentiment against law enforcement was running high, not just in New York, but around the world, with police forces already on high alert because of a series of terrorist, suicide bombings in Paris. In America, home grown terrorists, even lone gunmen, were vocally issuing threats and creating an atmosphere of fear for both civilians and law enforcement.
The killing of Rafael Ramos and Wen Jian Liu shocked even the most jaded New Yorker. Police Officers of all ranks always know that it’s a possibility that when they are responding to an incident, or affecting an arrest, or working on an investigation, something unforeseen and terrible might happen; but this shooting was a coldblooded execution that occurred for no other reason than that the two Officers were wearing blue uniforms and sitting in a car. It was an intentional, coldblooded, premeditated assassination. The murderer, who had a long rap sheet, later shot and killed himself.
Rafael Ramos served the City as a school safety agent before joining the NYPD on January 9, 2012. A deeply religious, family man, he was studying to become a pastor at his longtime Church, Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, Queens. He was 40 years old and was survived by his wife and two sons.
32-year-old Wen Jian Liu, who was known to his colleagues as “Joe,” was the only son of immigrant parents who moved to the United States from China when he was 12 years old. He had served on the police force for seven years. He and his bride had just gotten married two months before he was killed. But, through the miracle of modern science and incredible forethought, his widow was able to give birth to their daughter in 2017.
Both Officers Liu and Ramos were promoted posthumously to first grade Detective. On December 20, 2015, the 84 Precinct unveiled new plaques dedicated to the Detectives’ memories. Testament to their devotion to public service, the widows of both Officers each started a foundation to assist others. In 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Slain Officer Family Support Act which allowed for change in the federal tax law to help others support the two families. Later, The National Blue Alert Network was enacted as part of the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act to protect officers from harm. The goal is to have this National Blue Alert active in all 50 states.
In June of 2015, West 6th Street and Avenue “T” in Gravesend, Brooklyn was named in honor of Det. First Grade Wenjian Liu. On June 20, 2015, the corner of Ridgewood Avenue and Shepherd Avenue in Brooklyn was renamed after Det. First Grade Rafael Ramos. A Google search of the names Ramos and Liu will realize more than 57-million entries in less than one-half second.
Click on the following pdf file link to read a compilation of news articles assembled by police historian retired Sgt. Mike Bosak, dated December 21, 2014: the day after the shooting: