With bagpipers marching silently to the beat of a somber drum, a New York City police officer killed by friendly fire was honored at his funeral Friday as a hero and a dedicated, compassionate professional who put his heart into his work.
Officer Brian Mulkeen, who was hit Sunday by two police bullets while tussling with an armed man in the Bronx, was the second New York City officer killed by friendly fire this year.
“We are here to honor a hero” and “celebrate the life of an absolutely remarkable man,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, who choked back emotion as he addressed mourners.
Mulkeen, a graduate of Fordham University’s business school, had worked as a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch from 2007 to 2009 but left and pursued a life of public service.
“He could have taken an easier path. That wasn’t Brian,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “He wanted to be at the front line. He wanted to protect people.”
Even the night before his death, the mayor said, the 33-year-old officer made an arrest and took a gun off the street.
Mulkeen was raised in Monroe. He joined the department in January 2013 and was working with a plainclothes unit when he and his partners encountered the armed man.
The man fled on foot, and officers chased him. Mulkeen and the man started to wrestle.
Police have described a chaotic confrontation in which 15 shots were fired in 10 seconds by six officers. Deputy Chief Kevin Maloney said five of those shots came from Mulkeen after the armed man reached toward his waistband.
The armed man was also killed in the gunfire.
Mulkeen, the grandson of a New York City police officer, has been posthumously promoted to detective first grade, O’Neill announced.
Only one person was responsible for Mulkeen’s death, O’Neill said at the funeral: The man who carried a “loaded and illegal gun and decided to run from police.”
The police commissioner highlighted Mulkeen’s work fighting violent activity and taking guns off the street, saying it was his job to go after the most violent and dangerous people in the city.
Mulkeen lived in suburban Yorktown Heights.
NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen was killed by friendly fire in February. He was hit in the chest by crossfire as he and other officers fired at a robbery suspect who pretended to be firing a fake handgun.