Abdul Majid, convicted in the 1981 shooting of two New York City police officers that left one dead, died in a hospital over the weekend, officials confirmed Monday, the New York Daily News reports.
A spokesperson for the Onondaga County, N.Y., Medical Examiner's Office said that Majid, 65, died of natural causes—namely, acute cholecystitis, an inflammation of the gall bladder. Majid was serving a 25-years-to-life sentence at Five Points Correctional Facility in upstate New York and had been scheduled for a parole hearing next month.
Majid, who was known as Anthony Laborde before converting to Islam and changing his name, was convicted with an accomplice of the 1981 murder of Officer John Scarangella and the attempted murder of Officer Richard Rainey. In April 1981, the two officers stopped a white van in Queens, N.Y., to question the two men inside about a string of burglaries.
Majid and fellow Black Liberation Army partner James Dixon-York exited the van with guns, emptying their 15-shot, 9 mm pistols while firing at the two cops, authorities said. Scarangella died after the attack; Rainey survived but later quit the department. Rainey died last year.
Majid's partner, Dixon-York, died in prison in 2009.
According to the Daily News, Detective Tom Nerney, who investigated the case, said he was happy that Majid never had the chance to walk free.
"He has gone to his final arraignment," Nerney said. "He brought a lot of misery upon a lot of people."
"Anthony Laborde was a cold-blooded cop killer whose death in prison is not deserving of any righteous person's tears. The city of New York and this earth is a far better place without the likes of Laborde and his band of bloodthirsty domestic terrorists," police union head Patrick Lynch told the News. "We reserve our sympathies for the families of Police Officers John Scarangella, whose life he cut short, and for Richard Rainey, who lived his remaining years in terrible pain from the 14 shots he took from those animals."
Majid's family, however, expressed concern about the inmate's death. State Assemblyman Charles Barron said he reached out to the state's Department of Correction on behalf of the family. He said the family were contacted by the prison chaplain, who told them that Majid had been transferred from the prison to a hospital, where a procedure was performed before he died Sunday.
"Any family would be concerned about the lack of information about the details that led up to their loved one's death," Barron said. "I supported him because he was a political prisoner. He served his time and he was a political prisoner. It seemed that the system wants members of the Black Liberation movement to die in prison."
Barron argued that there should be an independent investigation into Majid's death.
"We're very concerned, and I'm very suspicious when political prisoners die," he said.
However, the medical examiner's office said that an autopsy was not performed because of the religious objections that Majid expressed to state officials before his death.
Read more at the New York Daily News.