One was a newlywed, the other a father who recently changed careers to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a cop.
The NYPD officers shot and killed Saturday in Brooklyn came to the force at different points in their lives but were together in the front seats of a police car when a gunman ambushed them, police said.
Officer Wen Jian Liu, a seven-year NYPD veteran, was married two months ago, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Saturday night in remarks outside Woodhull Medical Center, where both officers died hours earlier.
Officer Rafael Ramos, who celebrated his 40th birthday Dec. 12, was a school security officer before joining the NYPD in 2012, according to Bratton.
He had a wife and a 13-year-old son who "couldn't comprehend what happened to his father," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Both officers lived in Brooklyn and were assigned to the 84th Precinct, police said.
De Blasio, in paying tribute to the slain officers, called them "two good men who dedicated their lives to protecting all of us."
Liu, 32, and Ramos were sitting inside a critical response vehicle assigned to a housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn at 2:47 p.m. when Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, fired into the vehicle, police said. Brinsley took his own life soon afterward, they said.
Ramos lived with his family in the same neighborhood of two-story row houses where he grew up, in the Cypress Hills section. A police officer stood guard Saturday night outside his home, about four miles from the scene of the slayings.
Ramos had another son who is college age, said Nelson Mejia, a grocer in the neighborhood who knew the officer for 25 years.
Wendi Adams, who has lived there more than 30 years, described Ramos as a good neighbor who mostly kept to himself.
"He was a very good guy; always tried to help out in the neighborhood," she said. "It's a really sad thing. It's just sad. God bless him."
Liu moved six or seven months ago to a house with a small front yard in Brooklyn's Gravesend section, said a neighbor who declined to give his name.
He said Liu was a nice man who told him he was a police officer.