Deputy Inspector Denis Mullaney, a 20-year NYPD veteran and the 107th Precinct’s commanding officer, took his life inside a department vehicle April 5.
The 44-year-old parked his car near Flushing’s Kissena Park before calling his executive officer, Capt. Taso Karathanasis, and family members in the minutes leading up to his death and expressed his suicidal thoughts, The New York Post reported.
But by the time officers located Mullaney, it was too late.
The commander had parked his department vehicle on Underhill Avenue near the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway and shot himself in the head.
Mullaney started his post at the 107th Precinct in September, the same week he celebrated his two-decade career anniversary. He previously worked for four years as the commanding officer of NYPD Transit District 20, which overlaps with the 107th, as well as seven other precincts. He grew up in Flushing and graduated from Holy Cross High School in 1995.
When he took over the post seven months ago, the 107th Precinct’s year-to-date crime was on a slight increase, most of which was thanks to a 95.2 percent surge in auto thefts. With Mullaney at the helm, the precinct’s total year-to-date crime dropped by nearly 46 percent as of March 28. The troublesome auto thefts had dipped by 32 percent.
“Every week, I do an analysis of where our spikes in crimes are,” Mullaney told the Chronicle during his first week on the job. “If we see a spike, we’re going to concentrate in that area ... We’re going to put our resources there to combat the crime.”
Mullaney’s top priority was maintaining a strong communication with the neighborhood and preserving quality of life. He inherited the longstanding drag racing issue, which was top of mind for him during his tenure. He had been brainstorming various avenues to curb the dangerous and obnoxious driving with local leaders — he’d work on the ground to penalize reckless driving, while area Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) was fighting for more stringent regulations on the Assembly floor.
“Devastated to learn of the tragic loss of Deputy Inspector Denis Mullaney who was just welcomed as Commanding Officer of the [107th] not long ago,” Rozic wrote on Twitter following the news. “To anyone struggling with mental health, help is only a phone call away: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (800) 273-8255.”
Mullaney is believed to be the first NYPD officer to die of suicide in 2021. Ten officers took their own lives in 2019, a record number.
During an email conversation, Mullaney told the Chronicle he was out sick during the last week of March. The NYPD did not respond by press time when asked if the time off was for mental health recuperation.
The 107th Precinct changed its social media profile pictures, which had been portraits of Mullaney, to images of a police badge. He is still listed on all websites as the 107th commander.
Mullaney’s wake is today, April 8, at Martin A. Gleason Funeral Home in Whitestone, from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m.
His funeral will be the following morning, Friday, April 9, at 10:45 a.m. at St. Mel’s Church in Flushing.