NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) — A 33-year-old NYPD officer and a man he was trying to arrest were both shot and killed during a chaotic struggle early Sunday in the Bronx.
The NYPD identified the slain officer as Brian Mulkeen, who had been on the force for six and a half years.
The officer was shot three times, apparently with his own gun, as he grappled on the ground with a suspect who was also armed.
"We lost a hero this evening," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a glum news conference outside Jacobi Medical Center.
De Blasio said the officer was "doing the job we asked him to do, a job that New Yorkers needed him to do."
The mayor said what he learned from Mulkeen's family: "He wanted to protect other people. He loves this city. He wanted to protect other people."
Mulkeen was patrolling the streets around the Edenwald Houses at 12:30 a.m. as part of a unit investigating potential gang activity, Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. The Edenwald Houses have seen an increase in gang activity and shootings, according to Monahan.
Mulkeen and his partner tried to apprehend a man who had fled questioning, and a hand-to-hand struggle on the ground ensued, Monahan said.
As the men wrestled, Mulkeen's body camera recorded him saying his final words: "He's reaching for it! He's reaching for it!"
"Officer Mulkeen's gun fired five times," Monahan said. "At this point, we are not sure who fired Officer Mulkeen's gun."
Five responding officers fired at the 27-year-old man, who was struck and pronounced dead at the scene.
Police identified the suspect as Antonio Lavance Williams from Binghamton, New York. He had three previous arrests in New York City, including two felonies and a misdemeanor, the New York Post reported.
A .32-caliber revolver that police say belonged to him was recovered. It had not been fired, Monahan said.
Monahan said the suspect was on probation until 2022 for a narcotics-related arrest last year and had several prior arrests, including a burglary conviction in Rockland County.
Mulkeen had served nearly seven years with the department and worked out of the 47th precinct. He lived in Yorktown Heights with his girlfriend, an NYPD police officer in the Bronx's 44th precinct.
Fordham University says Mulkeen was a graduate who had competed in weight throwing events while a student at the Bronx college. He was currently a volunteer coach for the team.
His father, who is also named Brian Mulkeen, told the New York Post, "He was a remarkable human being. Everybody loved him."
Monahan called the officer "brave," and said he was "doing the job we asked him to do, a job that New Yorkers needed him to do."
In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said he was heartbroken and that Mulkeen was taken far too early.
"He is the embodiment of bravery and a true New York hero. On behalf of the New York family, I extend my deepest sympathies to Officer Mulkeen's family and loved ones during this excruciatingly painful period and I ask all New Yorkers to keep them in their prayers," the governor said.
Sen. Schumer said Mulkeen was "serving New Yorkers bravely and proudly. God bless his family, his fellow NYPD officers, and everyone who loved him."
The FDNY said its department stands "in solidarity with our NYPD brothers and sisters."
"On behalf of all of the members of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, we offer our sincerest condolences to Officer Mulkeen’s loved ones. His courage, service, and sacrifice will be remembered by us all," said Gerard Fitzgerald, the president of the FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association.
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."