NEW YORK — A New York City police officer was shot and killed with his own gun Sunday while struggling with a man at a Bronx housing project that has been plagued by gang violence despite military-style sweeps aimed at ending the bloodshed.
Police were still investigating who pulled the trigger on the gun that killed the young officer, Brian Mulkeen.
His last words offered a warning to his fellow officers about a weapon. “He’s reaching for it! He’s reaching for it!” Mulkeen, 33, could be heard shouting on a body camera recording, police officials said.
Moments later, Mulkeen and the man he had been chasing, Antonio Lavance Williams, lay mortally wounded outside the Edenwald Houses.
The violent clash began just after midnight, when Mulkeen and two other anticrime officers, who were dressed in street clothes, began chasing Williams. He had fled when the officers approached to ask him about recent shootings police believe involved gangs, Chief Terence Monahan said.
The violence at the Bronx’s largest public housing complex stems largely from feuds between rival gangs, which prompted federal and local sweeps across the Bronx that resulted in 120 arrests in a single day in 2016, police said.
Mulkeen was shot three times as officers wrestled Williams to the ground, Monahan said Sunday at a news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“By every measure, we lost a hero,” the mayor said as he announced the officer’s death.
Investigators recovered a .32-caliber pistol from Williams, but police have said the weapon had not been fired. Williams was shot dead by five responding officers.
Williams, of Binghamton, N.Y., was on probation for a drug arrest last year and had a prior conviction for burglary in Rockland County, according to police. He was expected back in court on Oct. 4 in his hometown, where he had pleaded not guilty to harassment charges.
NEW YORK TIMES