Discount carrier JetBlue is offering to fly police officers from anywhere in the U.S. for free if they want to attend the funerals of the two New York City cops executed in their squad car in Brooklyn by a gunman during the weekend. The offer is for two officers from each department from anywhere JetBlue has flights to New York.
JetBlue spokeswoman Sharon Jones told the New York Post that the airline, which is based in Queens, is "honored to do what we can to support the communities we serve." The New York Daily News said the offer depends on seat availability.
Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot to death by a gunman who shortly thereafter committed suicide in a nearby subway station. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, said on social media posts he was avenging the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island at the hands of white police officers, who subsequently were cleared of charges by grand juries. He appears to have been a troubled man with a long history of run-ins with police.
Both Ramos and Liu were shot in the head.
Ramos is scheduled to be buried Saturday at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, Queens. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend.
Arrangements for Liu's funeral have yet to be finalized. JetBlue said it is working with a partner to bring Liu's relatives from China for the service, free of charge.
The New York Times Thursday reported the gun used to kill the two officers came from a Georgia pawn shop just south of Atlanta. It was last purchased in a legally traceable transaction in 1996 by an Asian man who said he gave the weapon to a cousin, the Times quoted a police official as saying. The Daily News reported in 2010 the Arrowhead Pawn Shop was part of the so-called Iron Pipeline and was the top out-of-state source for guns recovered by New York police in crimes.
Security has been stepped up at some New York police stations in the wake of the shootings, and the Fire Department moved one engine company to an adjacent station house as threats streamed in on 311, 911 and social media, the Times reported.
“Some of these are angry people who call and rant; some are ill-advised Internet pranks or drunks who are texting, and those wash out fairly quickly," said John J. Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism. "There are a handful that are of concern, and those are the cases where we devote the time and resources.”