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Correction officer hinted he was disturbed

Mass. Police officer Kevin Ambrose was killed in

Mass. Police officer Kevin Ambrose was killed in the line of duty by a NYC corrections officer during a dispute with his girlfriend, authorities said. Credit: Newsday Composite

A New York City correction officer from Hempstead told friends he was emotionally disturbed and "about to do something crazy" before he fatally shot a Springfield, Mass., police officer, critically wounded his estranged girlfriend and took his own life.

Prison guard Shawn Bryan, 35, of Wendell Street, told friend Melvin Bethel, 32, of Hempstead last week he was "destroyed" because Charlene Mitchell, 29, the mother of his year-old daughter, had left him.

"He [Bryan] was stressed over it, because they were always fighting and she had moved out [to Massachusetts] with their baby," said Bethel, a construction worker who has known Bryan since the mid-1990s. "He said he was having mental issues. . . . He said he felt like he was about to do something crazy."

Mitchell's family also believed Bryan "snapped," said her cousin, Latrelle Mitchell.

"All we know is, he just went nuts," said Mitchell, 35, of Springfield. "We want to know why he did this to her."

A restraining order was issued about 30 minutes before Bryan wounded Mitchell, a nurse's aide, after killing Officer Kevin Ambrose, 56, a 36-year department veteran and married father of two, police said.

Ambrose responded about 1 p.m. Monday to a 911 call that Mitchell placed at 12:47 p.m., after Bryan, a correction department officer for three years, showed up outside her apartment, police said.

Under the restraining order, Bryan was permitted to retrieve possessions from Mitchell's home with a police escort, so Ambrose escorted both to her apartment, police said.

There, Bryan pushed Mitchell in, locked Ambrose out and shot the officer through the door with his off-duty pistol, a Glock 19, police said.

Bryan then shot Mitchell, fled to his car and fatally shot himself in the chest, police said.

Mitchell, who was admitted to UMass Medical Center in critical condition with life-threatening injuries and who remained stable Tuesday, had warned of problems with Bryan.

"Shawn has been physical to me," Mitchell wrote in her request for the restraining order, filed in Springfield District Court on Monday.

Mitchell stated Bryan had called her Saturday about a television he was supposed to pick up from her on Sunday. He soon started harassing her, she wrote, so she hung up.

That's when Mitchell wrote that Bryan texted her: "I'm going to make you wish you were not born."

Mitchell, who also has a 13-year-old child, said she feared a "likelihood of immediate danger or abuse," the affidavit said. She also noted that Bryan carried a firearm -- which a judge ordered him to give to police.

Mitchell thought Bryan was scheduled to work at Rikers Island on Monday -- and was surprised to see him outside her building, police said.

Bryan last worked at Rikers Island Saturday and was scheduled to work again Tuesday, correction officials said.

A woman who said she was Bryan's mother declined to comment at her Westbury home Tuesday. "I'm not in a good place today," she said.

A spokesperson for the city Department of Correction said Bryan was assigned to the Anna M. Kross Center at Rikers Island and had been hired on Aug. 27, 2009.

"We are shocked and saddened by the events," Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro said in a statement. "Each of us takes an oath of office to preserve and protect the lives of others. This is an unspeakable tragedy for which we have few words."

Norman Seabrook, president of the correction officers union, said Monday evening the shooting was "a major tragedy."

"At the end of the day, I don't know what the answer is," he said. "I don't know why he acted the way he did."With Kery Murakami,

John Valenti and Bill Mason

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