Correction: This story was revised on Monday afternoon to reflect new information released by NYPD regarding the hero’s line-of-duty death. Please see the full story here.
Bronx, NY – New York Police Department (NYPD) Officer Brian Mulkeen was killed by friendly fire while fighting on the ground with an armed suspect in the Bronx early on Sunday morning.
Officer Mulkeen, a seven-year veteran of the department, was part of the Bronx Borough Anti-Crime Unit out of the 47th Precinct, WABC reported.
The 33-year-old officer was on patrol with two other undercover officers at about 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 29 looking for gang activity in the northern Bronx when they stopped to question two men in an area where there had been frequent shootings and one of them fled.
The officers pursued the suspect and Officer Mulkeen collided with the man and went to the ground, The Washington Post reported.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters at a press conference early on Sunday morning that “a violent struggle on the ground began.”
Chief Monahan said that Officer Mulkeen’s bodycam footage captured the young officer yelling “he’s reaching for it, he’s reaching for it!” before gunfire erupted, The Washington Post reported.
There were five gunshots and then Officer Mulkeen’s partner opened fire on the suspect and killed him.
Officer Mulkeen was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center where he died, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Chief Monahan told reporters that the suspect’s .32-caliber revolver had been recovered at the scene but that wasn’t the gun that killed Officer Mulkeen, The Washington Post reported.
“At this point, it does not appear that the perpetrator’s gun was the one that fired,” Chief Monahan said. “Officer Mulkeen’s gun fired five times. At this point, we are not sure who fired Officer Mulkeen’s gun.”
On Monday, NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill announced that Officer Mulkeen had been killed by two gunshots fired by his partners at the scene.
“Our investigation so far has found that Officer Mulkeen retained his firearm during the entire violent struggle he had with the suspect,” Commissioner O’Neill said. “Brian was the one who fired his own weapon and he fired five rounds at the suspect. As we told you on Sunday, the suspect’s loaded gun was not fired during this incident.”
“Investigation has also found that Officer Mulkeen’s partners fired 10 rounds, and two of those rounds struck Officer Mulkeen,” the commissioner continued.
“This is a tragic case of friendly fire but make no mistake, we lost the life of a courageous public servant due solely to a violent criminal who put the lives of the police, and all of the people we serve, in jeopardy,” he said.
Officer Mulkeen was the department’s second friendly-fire, line-of-duty death in 2019.
Chief Monahan said the 27-year-old suspect was on probation for a narcotics-related arrest when he was fatally shot by police, according to The Washington Post.
The chief also said the suspect had a criminal history that included a burglary conviction.
Officer Mulkeen was a graduate of Fordham University and lived in Yorktown Heights with his girlfriend, who is also an NYPD officer, The Washington Post reported.
He served as a two-year field captain for Fordham, with an impressive record in the weight throw for indoor track and the hammer throw for outdoor track, WABC reported.
Officer Mulkeen had recently returned to the track field for his alma mater as a volunteer throwing coach under his good friend and former teammate, head coach Brian Horowitz.
The university ordered its flags to be flown at half mast until the day after Officer Mulkeen’s funeral, WABC reported.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that he and NYPD officials had met with the fallen hero’s family.
“One of the things they told us, even with their grief, was that Brian made a choice, an incredibly noble choice to leave a civilian life, a lucrative career,” the mayor said. “He wanted to protect other people. He loves this city, he wanted to protect other people, and he put his life on the line, and he gave his life for all of us.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York Police Department Officer Brian Mulkeen, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Mulkeen, your life mattered.