US President, Barack Obama, has condemned the fatal shooting of two New York police officers on Saturday.
The police officers were killed in broad daylight by a gunman in suspected retaliation for the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
US President Barack Obama said in a statement released on Saturday while he was on holiday with his family in Hawaii.
He said “I unconditionally condemn today’s murder of two police officers in New York City,” and that there was “no justification for the killings.”
The authorities said that before shooting, the lone gunman posted a message online announcing that he planned to shoot two “pigs” in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner who died in July as he was tackled to the ground by police officers in Staten Island on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes on the streets.
Garner’s death, and those of other unarmed black men at the hands of the police, sparked US wide protests, some of which turned violent.
The suspect in the New York shootings, named as 28-year old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, was reported to have fled the scene before fatally shooting himself in the head.
Obama appealed to the American public to reject violence, and “harmful words,” and instead to embrace words that “heal.”
At a press conference following the murder of the two police officers, named as Liu Wenjin and Raphael Ramos, New York Police Commissioner William J Bratton said the men were shot without warning or provocation.
Earlier on Saturday, Brinsley had shot his former girlfriend in Baltimore. He then posted photos on an Instagram account threatening to kill New York City officers.
The police in Baltimore sent a warning fax to the New York police department – just at the time that Brinsley was carrying out his attack in Brooklyn.
Brinsley reportedly walked up to a patrol car parked outside an apartment building in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on Saturday afternoon and opened fire.
Both officers were fatally wounded and pronounced dead after being taken to the Woodhull Medical Center.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the officers were shot “execution style.”
Criminal records show Brinsley had a history of arrests on various charges in the state of Georgia, including robbery, shoplifting and carrying a concealed weapon.
However, there was immediate condemnation of the violence on Saturday from civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton: “Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases,” he said.