EDENWALD, Bronx -- A nearly 7-year veteran of the NYPD lost his life during a confrontation with a suspect, struck by 3 bullets in the Bronx early Sunday morning. The suspect, with various priors according to police, also died as other officers returned fire.
The NYPD identified the police officer as 33-year-old Brian Mulkeen, who was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
Chief of Department Terence Monahan said at a press conference at Jacobi Medical Center that the shooting happened just after midnight near the Edenwald Houses at East 229th Street and Laconia Avenue.
NYPD officers assigned to the Bronx borough anti-crime unit were patrolling the streets around East 229th Street. Officials said they were there because gang activity, which included recent shootings in that area. Behind that location, three officers in one police car got out of their vehicle to question a man. The man fled and foot pursuit ensued.
As Officer Mulkeen and his partner attempted to apprehend the man, a violent struggle on the ground began. On a body-worn camera, Officer Mulkeen can be heard yelling, "He's reaching for it, he's reaching for it."
Officials said numerous shots were fired and the officer was struck a total of 3 times, Monahan said. Five officers at the location fired their service weapons, striking the man.
"At this point it does not appear that the perpetrator's gun was the one that fired," said Monahan. "Officer Mulkeen's gun fired five times. At this point, we are not sure who fired Officer Mulkeen's gun."
The suspect was pronounced deceased on the scene and his firearm, a .32 caliber revolver, was recovered by police.
"There is absolutely no worse moment on our job than this. As we stand here this morning, a young man with a bright future who courageously patrolled some of New York City's toughest streets has tragically lost his life," Monahan said.
Police Commssioner O'Neill said Mulkeen had served for nearly seven years. He was appointed on January 9, 2013. He lived in Yorktown Heights with his girlfriend, who is also a police officer in the Bronx at the 44 precinct.
Earlier on Saturday night, Officer Mulkeen arrested a male in possession of a gun in the very same precinct.
Flanked by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Monahan called the officer "a hero" and "brave," and said he was doing "a job that New Yorkers needed him to do."
The suspect is a 27-year-old man who was on probation until 2022 for a narcotics-related arrest last year.
His name has not been released.
Mulkeen is the second NYPD officer killed in the line of duty this year. Detective Brian Simonsen was accidentally shot by fellow officers in February 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 press conference. "It has to stop."
The Fordham University Track and Field program released a statement mourning the loss of Mulkeen, who was a field captain for Fordham during the time he competed from 2004 to 2008, and had recently decided to re-join his alma mater as a volunteer throwing coach.