NEW YORK (CNN) – At 28-years-old, Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s life was full of failure, broken relationships and run-ins with police. Mayor Bill de Blasio called him a “career criminal, a troubled individual, with a clearly deeply, emotionally troubled past.”
After bouncing from address to address as a teen, he leaves a New Jersey high school in 10th grade and drifts, according to the New York Times. Traces of his troubles over the years are found in police reports that spread from Georgia to Ohio.
In the last 10 years, Brinsley is arrested at least 19 times. In a 2013 police incident report in Brooklyn, New York, Brinsley assaults his 5-months-pregnant ex-girlfriend. “[The] perp…put his hand on the victim’s forehead the report says…and hit the victim on the head with his head.”
In another report from 2011, Brinsley opens fire on a woman’s car. He later flees, only to be arrested and charged for the crime. The list of police reports goes on and on.
From probation violations, to petty crimes to “terroristic” threats; Brinsley’s behavior over the years was nothing short of erratic. In 2011, Brinsley confirms to a judge that he had once been a patient at a mental hospital.
Chief Conroy said, “He tried to commit suicide about a year ago. We got that from family members.” Raising the question: How does a man with a history of mental health issues get his hand on a gun?
Police said the weapon used in the attack was purchased nearly 20 years ago at a Georgia pawn shop. How Brinsley got the gun is unclear. In a surveillance video, just before the shooting, police said they believe he used a plastic bag to carry the gun. Beyond that, they’ve released few other details.
30 minutes outside of Atlanta, in Union City, Georgia, Brinsley’s last known address. An acquaintance, who did not want to go on camera, describes the shooter as “a mellow guy,” who was “soft spoken.”
A far different description of the man who posted in one of his final messages on Instagram, “I’m putting wings on pigs today” he wrote, “…they take one of ours, let’s take two of theirs.”
New York Police Department’s Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, “What we’re seeing in our social media investigation, basically on Instagram, he put out 119 images on his Instagram account, a lot of these things are of self-despair but they’re also anti-government.”
Brinsley’s attack has been called revenge against police for the recent high profile deaths of two unarmed civilians, but on Monday, New York’s mayor said the killings were not just an attack on police, but an attack on us all.