What to Know
- NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen was patrolling a city apartment complex in the Bronx when he began chasing and wrestling with a suspect — and the two men were later killed when officers opened fire
- No charges will be filed against the NYPD officers involved in the shooting, the Bronx district attorney said
- However, the DA went on to say that the deaths show concerns about the department's use of force, defensive tactics and tactical trainings in their interactions with the public
No charges will be filed against the NYPD officers involved in a friendly fire shooting that killed Det. Brian Mulkeen and an armed suspect in September 2019, the Bronx district attorney announced late Friday.
Mulkeen was patrolling the streets around a city apartment complex in the Bronx around 12:30 a.m. on September 29 as part of a unit investigating potential gang activity. That’s when he and his partner tried to apprehend a man who had fled questioning, and a struggle ensued.
After running after the suspect, the men wrestled on the ground. Mulkeen could then be heard on body camera shouting, "He's reaching for it! He's reaching for it," according to police.
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The situation escalated from there, as the seven-year veteran of the force fired his gun five times at the man they had chased down, Antonio Williams. Mulkeen’s partner, whose body cam footage was seen in a previously released video, then drew his weapon as well before both Williams and Mulkeen are killed in the gunfire.
Police said a total of six plainclothes officers fired 15 shots when they responded to the call, with Mulkeen being killed as a result of friendly fire to his head and torso, the medical examiner later ruled. Police recovered a handgun from the suspect at the scene following the fatal incident, but it was loaded and never fired during the melee.
Bronx DA Darcel Clark said that an investigation into the fatal encounter did not find that the use of deadly force by the officers was criminal. However, Clark went on to say that the deaths of Mulkeen and Williams show concerns about the department's use of force, defensive tactics and tactical trainings in their interactions with the public.
"This was a singular tragedy that unfolded in seconds and left two men dead and two families with a lifetime of sorrow," Clark said. "It stemmed from the proliferations of guns and gun violence. Detective Mulkeen was dedicated to getting firearms off the streets of the Bronx."
Clark went on to say that the investigation and release of body cam footage were done to get as much information to the public as possible, for the sake of transparency, something he called "paramount in keeping the community's trust."
"This is a tragic case of friendly fire, but make no mistake, we lost the life of a courageous public servant solely due to a violent criminal who put the lives of the police and all the people we serve in jeopardy," then-NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said in the aftermath of the fatal shooting.