The Tablet Staff
New York City is mourning the death of 33-year-old NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen, a graduate of Fordham University who on Sept. 29 was shot in the line of duty while he was patrolling a Bronx neighborhood for gang activity, according to multiple reports.
Officer Mulkeen was killed in the friendly fire between cops in his unit and an armed suspect in Edenwald, according to the New York Daily News.
Early Sunday morning, Mulkeen and colleagues stopped their patrol car on East 229th St. to interrogate a suspect, ex-con Antonio Williams, regarding recent shootings in the area, police said.
The officers pursued the man in question, and “a violent struggle on the ground began” between Mulkeen, his partner and the individual, NYPD Chief Terence Monahan said during a Sept. 29 news conference, the New York Post reported.
Per Monahan, in a summary of body-camera footage of the incident Mulkeen said Williams was “reaching for it.” In the footage, Williams can be seen reaching into his waistband for what the New York City Police Department identified as a .32 caliber revolver.
Fellow officers on the scene fired, striking both Mulkeen and Williams in the moments that followed.
Williams, 27, was killed. According to Monahan, he had been on probation for a narcotics-related arrest and had a criminal history.
Mulkeen died at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx from the injuries he sustained, NBC News reported.
“This is a tragic case of friendly fire,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill told press, according to the New York Post. “But make no mistake we lost the life of a courageous public servant solely due to a violent criminal who put the lives of the police and all the people we serve in jeopardy.”
A 2008 graduate of Fordham, Mulkeen joined the NYPD in 2013 as part of the Bronx’s 48th Precinct. He later moved to the borough’s 47th precinct in 2017 as part of the Anti-Crime Unit, according to reports.
“Our hearts go out to Brian’s family and loved ones, and to his fellow officers. I know the Fordham community joins me in prayer for the repose of Brian’s soul, and for his family and loved ones as they mourn his untimely death.” said Father Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
“He used to tell me he always wanted to be a cop,” Andrew McGann, Mulkeen’s neighbor, told media. “He could have done any number of things, but he loved being a cop.”
Mulkeen, who was from Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, had begun his career with the police department in Tuxedo, N.Y. “He brought joy, and caring with him when he came,” the department wrote in a Facebook post. “He followed his dream. He will always be one of us, remembered for his courage, his love and his drive.”
Per Mayor Bill de Blasio, flags around the city will be lowered to half-staff in honor of Mulkeen.
After hearing the news, Danny Tucker, Mulkeen’s former Fordham classmate and track and field teammate, wrote on Facebook: “Brian died a hero this morning. I don’t throw that word around often or lightly, even in the context of my job. This was a man who left a big-money job to go help and protect people in some of the worst neighborhoods in the country. While most of us were asleep last night, Brian paid the ultimate sacrifice … I will forever be thankful for his friendship, honor his legacy, and tell his story.”