A New York City police officer described as a “young man with a bright future” and a man he was trying to arrest were both shot and killed during a struggle early Sunday in the Bronx, police said.
The New York City Police Department identified the slain officer as Brian Mulkeen, 33, who has been with the department for nearly seven years.
NYPD Chief Terence Monahan told reporters on Sunday morning, “A young man with a bright future who courageously patrolled some of New York City’s toughest streets has tragically lost his life.”
“Brian was a great cop, dedicated to keeping this city safe,” he added.
Police said the officer was shot three times, possibly with his own gun, as he grappled on the ground with the 27-year-old suspect who was also armed. Monahan told reporters the suspect, who has not yet been identified, had several prior arrests and was on probation until 2022 for a narcotics-related offense last year. His criminal history included a burglary conviction in Rockland County, according to police.
Police said they recovered a .32-caliber revolver that they said belonged to the suspect, adding that it had not been fired. On Sunday, the NYPD tweeted a picture of the gun recovered at the scene of the police-involved shooting in the Bronx.
"We lost a hero this evening," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the news conference outside Jacobi Medical Center.
Mulkeen was patrolling the streets around a city apartment complex in the Bronx at around 12:30 Sunday morning as part of a unit investigating gang activity when he and his partner tried to arrest a man who had fled questioning, Monahan told reporters. He said that is when a “violent struggle on the ground” took place.
Monahan said as Mulkeen and the suspect wrestled, his body camera recorded him yelling "He's reaching for it! He's reaching for it!"
"Officer Mulkeen's gun fired five times," Monahan said. "At this point, it is not clear who fired Officer Mulkeen's gun."
Monahan told reporters that five officers fired at the suspect, who was struck and pronounced dead at the scene. He said Mulkeen was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx where he was pronounced dead.
Mulkeen worked out of the 47th precinct in the Bronx and lived with his girlfriend, who is also an NYPD police officer in the borough.
Monahan called Mulkeen "brave," and said he was "doing the job we asked him to do, a job that New Yorkers needed him to do."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted on Sunday morning, “I am heartbroken by the loss of NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen, who was shot and killed in the line of duty today.”
“At 33, Officer Mulkeen was taken far too early from his family and from the city he sacrificed everything to protect. He is the embodiment of bravery and a true NY hero.”
The NYPD tweeted video of dozens of officers lining up outside Jacobi Medical Center to give Officer Mulkeen “a final salute.”
On Sunday, NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill tweeted,” NYPD Police Officer Brian Mulkeen, a 33-yr-old Bronx cop, was killed about 12:30 am while doing the courageous work New Yorkers needed him to do. He served for nearly 7 years. There is no worse a moment in our profession than this. Please keep Brian’s family & colleagues in your thoughts.”
Mulkeen is the second NYPD officer killed in the line of duty this year. Detective Brian Simonsen was accidentally shot by fellow officers seven months ago while confronting a robbery suspect.
“We’ve been here too often. We know the directions to get here,” Pat Lynch, the president of New York City’s Police Benevolent Association, said at the news conference. “It has to stop.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.