Like most line-of-duty deaths of our nation’s cops, we learn about their personal lives, their military service, their parenting skills, their spirituality, basically who was wearing that badge and what he/she stood for. The recent death of NYPD police Officer Brian Mulkeen, 33, bears out the heart and soul of a man who willingly walked away from a high-paying career in finance to lay down his life for millions of folks he did not know.
In a ground-fighting encounter a little after midnight on Sunday morning, Officer Mulkeen was one of a small group of plainclothes cops working in an anti-crime unit in an area of the Bronx reportedly plagued with gang violence and gunfire.
While the unmarked NYPD cruiser occupied by three plainclothes cops patrolled the Edenwald Housing area, the trio engaged in some midnight-shift banter and glee, providing their own brand of balance in a world of chaos and crisis:
The makeshift videographer was one of Officer Mulkeen’s brethren in his anti-crime unit “devoted to get guns off the streets,” a unit whose motto is “We Own the Night.” Police Officer Bryan Mayhon, the driver and co-singer crooning with Officer Mulkeen, posted the video you just watched, the lyrics of John Denver classic “Take Me Home, Country Roads” heartily filling the cops’ cruiser. That was the fun before the unfortunate fury.
As a midnight-shift cop (by choice) for most of my career, the last few years were in the capacity of a field training officer (FTO) showing new cops the ropes. The cruiser compartment banter often consisted of the shock comedy cops for which cops are famous…and open about it. Humanity doesn’t go away and personality doesn’t alter when the uniform is donned. Despite the eventual tragedy, to me it remains bittersweet that these police officers, these brothers in blue, enjoyed each other’s company so much that it sort of tacitly telegraphed that they would die for one another.
I do not know if Officer Mulkeen belonged in West Virginia (at least he was jovially singing the tune), but I do know he was where he wanted to be during the last breaths of his existence: fighting the good fight. There is plenty of ugly in our world, my friends. And blue is there to impede evil’s flow so it doesn’t creep upon your doorstep.
Details of this absolute tragedy are still trickling out as the investigation looks backward before it forges forward. In that regard, those hurtful words, “friendly fire,” were uttered yesterday. For today, the video posted herein colorizes the authentic last moments of Officer Mulkeen and his colleagues doing the dirtiest of jobs.
Closing out this piece with the words of Officer Bryan Mayhon seems fitting. This is the excerpt he somehow found the composure to write…to accompany the video above:
“Myself driving, Mulkeen in my passenger seat, @robwish sitting in the back making fun of us and videoing. This video was taken in the last hour of Brian Mulkeens life. Little did we know that we were driving into a shootout that would end tragically. I wish I knew that this was the last song we would sing together. The last time we would be 98 together. The last gun we would grab together. Watch over us up on those country roads, I know your home♡”
I find it somewhat ironic that Officer Mulkeen was singing “Take Me Home…” one hour before he was shot and killed on the streets of a massive housing complex whose namesake has the word “Eden” in it. Paradise gained police Officer Brian Mulkeen on Sunday.