NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York city police officer on anti-gang duty and a suspect he was trying to arrest were both killed during an exchange of gunfire in the Bronx early Sunday, police said.
Officer Brian Mulkeen, 33, was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said in a statement. The 27-year-old suspect was pronounced dead on the scene.
“There is absolutely no worse moment on our job than this,” Chief of Department Terence Monahan said in remarks at the hospital, according to a police statement.
“Brian was a great cop dedicated to keeping this city safe. In fact, just last night he arrested a man in possession of a gun in the very same precinct,” Monahan said.
Officers from the Bronx Borough Anti-Crime Unit were patrolling the area because of gang activity including recent shootings, police said.
Three officers stopped the suspect for questioning when he fled, leading to a foot chase, and as Mulkeen and his partner attempted to apprehend the man a violent struggle on the ground broke out, police said.
A body-worn camera video recorded Mulkeen saying, “He’s reaching for it, he’s reaching for it,” when several shots were fired, and Mulkeen was struck three times, police said.
Five officers at the scene fired their weapons, striking the man, who was armed with a .32-caliber revolver, police said.
The suspect, who police did not identify, was on probation until 2022 for a narcotics-related arrest last year and he had several prior arrests including a burglary conviction, police said.
Mulkeen, who served more than six years with NYPD, was the 37th law enforcement officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty in 2019, according to Office Down Memorial Page, a website recording police deaths.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)