A veteran police officer was shot and killed in New York City just after midnight Sunday during a physical struggle with an armed suspect.
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The 27-year-old suspect was also shot and killed, police said.
Officer Brian Mulkeen, 33, of the New York Police Department was taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Mulkeen, a member of the NYPD for nearly seven years, died “while doing the courageous work New Yorkers needed him to do.”
“There is no worse a moment in our profession than this,” O’Neill said in a statement. “Please keep Brian’s family and colleagues in your thoughts.”
Mulkeen and two other officers were investigating gang activity at the Edenwald Houses, a public housing complex in the city’s Bronx borough, where several recent shootings had taken place, according to police. A man being questioned by the officers took off running and Mulkeen and other members of an anti-crime unit chased him down.
“Just after midnight this morning, a brave NYPD officer, doing the job we ask him to do, the job that New Yorkers needed him to do, was shot and killed,” Capt. Terence Monahan, NYPD chief of department, said at an early morning press conference.
Police Officer Brian Mulkeen was a great cop who gave it all to keep the people of our city safe. He was 33-years-old with a bright future in front of him. We will #NeverForget Brian’s service, dedication, and courage. Please keep his family and all of the NYPD in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/V7dBtJmcsq
— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) September 29, 2019
Monahan said officer-worn body camera showed the suspect reaching into his waistband for an object while fleeing police.
Mulkeen and the suspect got into a prolonged struggle on the ground with the officer shouting, “He’s reaching for it, he’s reaching for it,” according to audio from the body-camera footage, police said.
“Numerous shots” were fired by five separate police officers and Mulkeen was struck three times, police said. It’s unclear who fired the fatal shots.
Police said a .32 caliber revolver, believed to have been wielded by the suspect, was recovered at the scene.
The suspect was on probation for a narcotics-related arrest last year, according to police.
“This is a very, very sad day for our city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We lost a hero by every measure. We lost a hero this evening. … This was a young man who made the choice to join the NYPD, to put his life on the line, to protect others.”
“When we met with his family, Commissioner [Benjamin] Tucker, Chief Monahan, a number of us, spent time with his mom and his dad, his sister, his girlfriend and we broke the news to them,” de Blasio continued. “And one of the things they told us, even in their grief, was that Brian made a choice, an incredibly noble choice, to leave a civilian life, a lucrative career. He wanted to protect other people. He loves this city. … He put his life on the line and he gave his life for all of us.”
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The suspect has not been named, but police said he was on probation for a narcotics arrest from 2018 and had “several prior arrests in various places.”
Mulkeen’s girlfriend is also a police officer in the Bronx, at the NYPD’s 44th Precinct, which is near where the officer was shot. Mulkeen was a member of the Bronx Borough Anti-Crime Unit in the 47th Precinct.
“As cops, we know how rewarding our profession can be,” Monahan said. “But I’ll tell you, 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.”
Just hours before Mulkeen’s killing, de Blasio had called the Friday shooting death of a Houston police officer “heartbreaking.”
ABC News’ Alex Faul and Wil Cruz contributed to this report.
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