A small American flag taped to a brick wall in Brooklyn was all that remained Thursday of a once massive memorial near the site where two NYPD officers were shot and killed last month.
Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot dead in their patrol car Dec. 20 in Bedford-Stuyvesant by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who fatally shot himself in a nearby subway shortly after the ambush.
A memorial of flowers, candles, photographs, flags and notes commemorating the two officers quickly grew near the corner of Myrtle and Tompkins avenues, becoming a meeting place for mourners and those looking to pay their respects.
But on Monday night, police quietly dismantled the memorial, said workers at a pizzeria on the corner where the tribute had been erected.
"They just came and took it and didn't say anything," said Bernadette Cruz, an employee at Mike's Pizza.
Police have not confirmed why the memorial was taken down or what was done with it.
The shooting caused tensions to worsen between Mayor Bill de Blasio and police unions who said de Blasio hadn't supported the rank and file in the wake of protests following a grand jury's decision not to indict a white officer in the chokehold death of unarmed black suspect Eric Garner.
Brinsley made anti-police statements on social media just before the shooting, saying "I'm putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs."
Cruz remembered running to the back of the restaurant right after the shooting and waiting in fear.
"I was afraid, anyone would be afraid," said Cruz, who later added to the memorial, lighting several candles.
On Monday, as officers took the flowers and candles away, she asked police if she could keep a flag.
"I guess it was time," Cruz said.