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Slain New York Police Officer, Mother of 3, Was Her Family's "Warrior" - NY Times Coverage

Jul 05, 2017
  • nypd, miosotis familia, the new york times

The New York Times

By SARAH MASLIN NIR

JULY 5, 2017

Officer Miosotis Familia of the New York Police Department was the youngest of nine brothers and sisters, a family dynamic that gave her an outspoken personality and a no-nonsense edge, a nephew said — and made her a perfect fit for her job.

On Wednesday morning, Officer Familia, 48, died after she was shot in the head by a man who the police say fired a revolver into the window of the police vehicle in which she was sitting in the Bronx. She was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about three hours after the shooting.

The gunman, who was identified as Alexander Bonds, was shot and killed by the police a short time later nearby, after pointing a gun at the officers. Mr. Bonds, 34, was paroled four years ago after a serving seven years in state prison.

The killing of Officer Familia thrust the department into mourning and her family into grief.

“She would set anybody straight,” the nephew, John Cuello, said in an interview. “I’ve seen a lot of her putting her siblings in their place. Holding her ground. Her attitude was, ‘I might be the youngest one, but I’m the toughest one.’” He remembered her encouraging her nieces and nephews, whenever they got into neighborhood scrapes, to confront their problems head on, and never hide.

She used that strength to raise her three children — a boy and girl who are twins, and a daughter who is in college, Mr. Cuello said — as well as step up to care for her mother, who lived with her and the twins in their apartment in another Bronx neighborhood.

Officer Familia became a police officer at age 36 after holding a number of different jobs, and the fit was instant, her nephew said.

“She was a warrior, tell you the truth,” Mr. Cuello said. “She was a fighter, she was tough — and that was the job for her.”

The six-story red brick apartment complex where she lived is not far from where she was shot. She was sitting beside her partner, Officer Vincent Maher, when she was attacked.

At the complex on Sedgwick Avenue where Officer Familia lived, police officers stood sentry. Every so often, people who appeared to be friends and family arrived, clasping their hands and sobbing.

At the nearby Gonzalez Dry Cleaning, Marino Gonzalez remembered meeting Officer Familia when she brought her police uniform in to be altered. The crammed shop, adorned with spools of threads of all colors, had two navy police uniforms belonging to other officers hanging behind him. “She always tried to make conversation,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “She was a beautiful person.”

Officer Famila never expressed reservations about the dangerous job of being a police officer, or anxiety about the recent spate of attacks against police, exuding a toughness that meant her family rarely feared for her, her nephew said; They felt confident in her ability to take care of herself.

“She would say, ‘There was nothing easy about it,’” her nephew said. “But she loved what she did.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered all flags on city buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of the slain officer.

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