NYPD officials announced Monday that Officer Brian Mulkeen was hit by two rounds from “friendly fire” while attempting to restrain an armed suspect in the Bronx.
Mulkeen is the second NYPD officer killed in the line of duty this year and the second to die by friendly fire. In February, Det. Brian Simonsen was killed while responding to a robbery at a T-Mobile store in Richmond Hill, Queens.
In the killing of Mulkeen, police said a .32-caliber handgun was recovered from the suspect, 27-year-old Antonio Williams, who was pronounced dead after five officers shot at him. According to police, Williams had several prior arrests and was on probation for a narcotics-related charge.
“This is a tragic case of friendly fire, but make no mistake, we lost a 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,” said NYPD Commissioner Jame O’Neill.
“An individual running from the NYPD in a place that had suffered a lot of violence and this individual was armed. That’s what set all of this in motion,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
NYPD Update On Brian Mulkeen’s Death
Investigators had said it appeared Williams’ gun was not fired at the scene. Officer Mulkeen, however, fired his gun, a 9 mm pistol, five times, and other officers fired 15 rounds during the encounter, NYPD officials said.
The officers were in plain-clothes when they confronted Williams, who tried to flee from the officers on foot. Mulkeen was the first to run after their suspect.
“Brian initiated the chase,” confirmed O’Neill on Monday. “I saw some of the body-worn camera footage and I got to tell you, it’s 36,000 cops in this police department, and each one them incredible human beings, but I’m not sure if anybody would’ve done that. He displayed incredible, incredible courage.”
The 10-second encounter ended both the lives of Mulkeen and Williams.
Youssouf Conde watched the tragedy unfold from his car.
“I see the police officer, one, fall down,” he said. “The police officer is a hero. He tried to save the people.”
Records show Williams was on probation for a drug charge. His criminal history also includes an August arrest for harassment in a domestic case in Binghamton and a burglary conviction in Rockland County.
NYPD Mourns Officer Brian Mulkeen
The news deepens the tragedy and sense of loss surrounding Mulkeen’s death.
Mulkeen was a son, a brother, a boyfriend, a coach, a six-year veteran of the NYPD and a hero. Those are just some of the ways he is being remembered.
“A young man with a bright future who courageously patrolled some of New York City’s toughest streets has tragically lost his life,” NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said.
Chopper 2 followed a procession Monday morning as it transported the 33-year-old’s body from the medical examiner’s office to a funeral home in the Westchester County community of Yorktown Heights. Fellow first responders could be seen saluting along the way.
“This is a young man who made the choice to join the NYPD, to put his life on the line to protect others,” de Blasio said.
Roy Kalmus says he coached Mulkeen’s Little League team.
“Hits home a little harder when you know him as a kid,” said Kalmus. “I still remember him getting up at the plate. It’s very sad.”
Mulkeen was also looking forward to coaching the track and field team at his alma mater, Fordham University.
He’s now being remembered all over — on social media, pictures highlight his start with the NYPD at the academy; at Fordham University, where he competed in track and field and recently became a volunteer coach; and in Yorktown Heights, where he lived with his girlfriend, also a member of the NYPD, and was known as a good neighbor.
“He was just a great guy. It’s just unfortunate,” neighbor Dan Bellor said.
“It’s not an expression, ‘They put their lives on the line.’ They do put their lives on the line, and when we lose an officer it brings it all home,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
At the 47th Precinct police station the flag is flying at half-staff. Flags have been lowered all around the city, as well as up in Westchester, to honor Officer Mulkeen.
Funeral arrangements for Officer Mulkeen are as follows:
The wake will be held on Thursday at Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush, Inc. Funeral Home in Monroe, N.Y., from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. The funeral will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday at Sacred Heart Church in Monroe.