Funeral services held for NYPD Detective Brian Mulkeen, killed in the line of duty

MONROE, Orange County (WABC) -- Family, friends and thousands of fellow officers gathered Friday to bid a final farewell to an NYPD officer killed in the line of duty.

Funeral services were held for Brian Mulkeen at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Monroe, with a sea of blue lined up outside.

Mulkeen had been on the force for seven years when he was killed early Sunday morning by friendly fire while wrestling with an armed man during a confrontation in the Bronx.

Mulkeen dedicated his career to working in the Anti-Crime Unit at the 44th Precinct.

"He was the best of the best," NYPD Captain Jeffrey Heilig said. "He was a gentle giant, and I meant that. When it was time to be on the street, to be the police, he was. When it was time to be compassionate and to have a heart, he did."

Police Commissioner James O'Neill promoted Mulkeen to first-grade detective Friday. O'Neill was emotional as he eulogized the slain officer, and he then presented Mulkeen's shield to his family.

"As every cop knows, one person Is responsible for Brian's death -- that's the person carrying a loaded and illegal gun that decided to run from the police," O'Neill said. "Every cop knows that, and every New Yorker should know that."

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that Mulkeen "understood that his work required his whole heart and all the compassion that was in him." He kept in touch with a teen he'd arrested, inviting him to play basketball.

"He undoubtedly changed the direction of that young man's life," said de Blasio, adding that the family was "devastated" by Mulkeen's death, "as if they'd lost a family member too."

Mulkeen formerly served in the nearby Tuxedo Police Department before joining the NYPD. He lived in Yorktown Heights with his girlfriend, an NYPD police officer in the Bronx's 44th Precinct.

"He brought joy, and caring with him when he came," the Tuxedo Police Department posted on Facebook. "He followed his dream. He will always be one of us, remembered for his courage, his love and his drive. We will never forget, we will always be with you."

WATCH: Procession and funeral for Det. Brian Mulkeen

Police say he had a promising future and 270 career arrests, the majority of which were felony arrests and many of which involved removing illegal guns from Bronx streets.

The track and field program at Fordham University in the Bronx posted that Mulkeen was an alumnus, a two-year field captain who competed from 2004-2008. He was a multiple-time scorer at the Atlantic 10 Championship in the weight throw for indoor track and the hammer throw for outdoor track, as well as a multiple-time IC4A Championship qualifier in the weight throw.

The university said he had recently decided to re-join his alma mater as a volunteer throwing coach, alongside his former teammate, head coach Brian Horowitz.

"The Fordham family has lost one of its own to senseless violence today," Fordham president Joseph M. McShane, S.J., said. "Brian Mulkeen went out into the world to do exactly what we expect of our alumni, be a man for others, and he was slain in service to the local community. Our hearts go out to Brian's family and loved ones, and to his fellow officers. I know the Fordham community joins me in prayer for the repose of Brian's soul, and for his family and loved ones as they mourn his untimely death."

Mulkeen graduated from Fordham's business school and worked as a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch in New York from 2007 to 2009, the company said.

But he left the high-paying finance job to become a police officer, because as friend Daniel Tucker wrote on Facebook, he "felt like he wasn't doing enough with his life."

In his Facebook post, Tucker recounted Mulkeen's departure from the company. He remembered his friend calling him and saying: "Tuck! I couldn't wait to tell you, I quit my job at Merrill Lynch and I'm gonna be a cop!"

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