When shots rang out around East 229th Street in the Bronx, in the early morning hours of Sept. 29, the New York City Police Department lost an officer, and Monroe lost a son.
Assigned to the Bronx Borough Anti-Crime Unit, NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen was killed in a friendly fire incident after a violent struggle with a suspect ended in tragedy, the department said.
Mulkeen was patrolling the streets around the Edenwald Houses at 1132 East 229th Street with two other officers when they got out of their vehicle to question a man.
It was about 12:30 a.m., and the officers were there because of recent gang activity, which included shootings in the area, the department said.
The man they were trying to question fled on foot and the officers ran after him in pursuit.
As Mulkeen and his partner attempted to detain the man, a violent struggle broke out on the ground.
According to the NYPD, Mulkeen can be heard yelling, "He's reaching for it, he's reaching for it," on body cam footage.
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said Mulkeen's partners fired 10 rounds at the suspect.
"Two struck Brian," he said.
Calling it a "tragic case of friendly fire," O'Neill said the suspect Mulkeen was struggling with is responsible for his death.
"We lost the life of a courageous public servant solely due to a violent criminal," he said.
The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene and his .32-caliber revolver was recovered by police.
Purchased in 1971 in Richmond, Virginia, the suspect's gun was not fired during the struggle, the department said.
Critically injured, Mulkeen was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
He was 33 years old and had served the department more than six and a half years, having been appointed on Jan. 9, 2013, the NYPD said.
The suspect was a 27-year-old man who was on probation until 2022 for a narcotics-related arrest last year. He had several prior arrests in various places, including a burglary conviction in Rockland County, according to the department.
“There is no worse a moment in our profession than this,” O’Neill said. “Please keep Brian’s family and colleagues in your thoughts.”
“Brian was always dedicated to keeping NYC safe,” he said. “In fact, just last night he arrested a man in possession of a gun in the very same precinct where he would later be killed this morning.”
According to O'Neill, Mulkeen had 270 arrests to his credit, a large number of them for illegal guns.
Village of Monroe Mayor Neil S. Dwyer said that Mulkeen was one of their own and that the community stands with his family and friends as they mourn his loss.
“Brian was a member of our community here in the Village of Monroe,” Dwyer said. “He will be remembered in so many ways, but today we remember him as a hero, an officer, who, without hesitation, stepped into harm’s way to protect and serve.”
A graduate of the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District, Mulkeen’s death is mourned by the entire school community Superintendent of Schools Elsie Rodriguez said.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of M-W alumnus NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen,” Rodriguez said. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends, especially his mother, Camille, who served on the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District Board of Education.”
Town of Monroe Supervisor Tony Cardone said that Mulkeen did the community proud as an NYPD officer.
“At 33 years young, Brian represented the very best of our community,” Cardone said. “Brian will forever be remembered as a hometown hero who answered the call to protect and serve.”
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said that Mulkeen took “great pride” in wearing the badge and dedicated his life to law enforcement.
“This tragedy serves as another reminder that every day our police officers put their lives at risk to serve and protect us,” Neuhaus said. “I ask Orange County residents to keep Officer Mulkeen and his family in their thoughts and prayers.”
O'Neill said that footage from five body cameras was being reviewed as part of the investigation and that it is ongoing.
Mulkeen lived in Yorktown Heights with his girlfriend, who is also a police officer in the Bronx, in the 44 Precinct.
Cardone said flags at all Town of Monroe municipal buildings will be flown at half-staff through Friday, Oct. 4, in honor of Mulkeen.
Brian Mulkeen's obituary appears on page XX.