By Karen Matthews, Associated Press
Video from cameras worn by New York City police officers involved in a fatal friendly fire shooting shows a chaotic nighttime scene as officers struggled with an armed man on the grounds of a Bronx housing project before shots rang out.
The video footage released by the New York Police Department on Friday shows Officer Brian Mulkeen grappling with Antonio Williams on Sept. 29 and shouting frantically, “He’s reaching for it! He’s reaching for it!” A barrage of gunshots can then be heard.
Police have said that a total of six officers fired 15 shots during the confrontation that left both Mulkeen and Williams dead.
Police said a loaded .32-caliber revolver belonging to the 27-year-old Williams recovered at the scene had not been fired. Police officials have not said whose shots killed Williams or Mulkeen, who was 33.
The video backs up the account that police officials gave in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, as it shows the officers firing only after Mulkeen screamed that Williams was reaching for a weapon.
But the footage leaves several questions unanswered including what prompted police to approach Williams and another man at the Edenwald Houses at around 12:30 a.m.
Mulkeen and another officer, Robert Wichers, are seen chasing Williams, who was on probation following a drug arrest, and struggling with him. Mulkeen’s camera was not activated but Wichers is seen firing at close range on footage from his own camera.
Footage from other officers at the scene shows three officers firing from a distance across the grounds of the housing complex.
Police are still investigating the shooting to determine whether the officers who fired acted according to department guidelines.
Members of Williams’ family criticized the police department earlier Friday for not releasing all of the footage.
“The video proves that my brother didn’t cause the death of Officer Mulkeen,” The Daily News reported Williams’ brother, Justin Williams, said. “The NYPD’s hyper-aggressive policing and recklessness murdered my brother Antonio and the officer in a hail of 15 bullets.”