It hasn’t been a good year to be a cop in New York City, but at 12:30 Sunday morning at the gang-plagued Edenwald Houses in The Bronx, bad became infinitely worse.
Nearly-seven-year NYPD veteran Brian Mulkeen, 33, was shot to death — apparently with his own gun — in a struggle with an armed ex-con gangbanger and parolee who had been fleeing anti-crime officers.
It was the third time city cops have come under fire in recent weeks. An officer was slightly wounded on Staten Island late last month — and while there were no police injuries during a similar incident in Brooklyn a week earlier, that’s not because the shooter wasn’t trying.
All three perps died when officers returned fire — in context, perfectly reasonable outcomes — but while the circumstances of each incident differed, they reflected the increasingly open antagonism cops face on the streets everyday.
Mulkeen’s death speaks for itself.
The Staten Island incident involved a suspect in a domestic-violence complaint who opened up on officers with an illegal gun before being killed in the return fire. Then onlookers loudly did their best to escalate the incident — wishing the cops on the scene dead, among other ugly things.
Such police-civilian confrontations are common in the city. They range from simple verbal baiting of officers to dumping of water and even milk on them, to the deadly encounters on Staten Island and in Brooklyn. And, early Sunday, to the tragedy in The Bronx.
It’s hard to imagine how heavily all this weighs on the minds of individual officers as they report for duty.
Bob McManus is a contributing editor of City Journal. He retired as editorial page editor of the New York Post in 2013 and has since worked as a freelance editor, columnist, and writer.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images