Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Edward R. Byrne

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Friday, February 26, 1988

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Police Officer Edward R. Byrne

Eddie's murder changed policing in this city, for the better. We took back the city from the dealers, junkies, and all other criminal elements. I was in HS, dating a girl whose mother worked the case in the Queens DA office. I got to know the Byrne family personally because of that, wish I still did. Eddie's murder was the beginning of why I really wanted to be a cop. His murder was motivation for me to walk the blue line. Thanks Ed, we never met, but you had a forever lasting effect on this 17yo kid then, and at now 50yo you still do. Never Forget.... Till Valhalla....

Retired Detective Vincent Maher
NYPD

February 27, 2021

I was assigned to the 103 Pct straight out of NSU a few months after Eddie was killed. Being a first gen cop, I had much to learn. The atmosphere in the "house" was still somber but uplifting once I saw the comradery the very first day on "real" patrol. All the MOS assigned to the pct looked tired and worn out yet they never complained. They continued to go out and make collars in a valiant effort to squeeze intell from these criminals about Eddies execution being that evidence and witnesses were needed. I collared up early and often and was amazed of the tenacity of the best cops and detectives. Hundreds of collars were being made weekly and every single one was extensively interviewed by the the 103 MOS & Sqd. My eyes and ears were wide open and I learned quickly from the best cops and detectives. Bottom line, Eddies death created great cops, cops that NEVER FORGET and will never stop until justice is served ! Although I did not work with or know Eddie, his presence was always there and carried me for 20 years. Godspeed Eddie !

Detective Retired Angelo Conetta
NYPD

February 26, 2021

I remember this horrific midnight tour (Feb. 26 1988) vividly, like it was yesterday. It was my Friday coming off a week of midnights, with (3) days off to follow. I was a young 28 y.o. NYPD officer, previously assigned to the 103rd pct. and now assigned to the adjoining 113pct. In South Jamaica, Queens NY. I was very familiar with the 107th Ave & Inwood post that Eddie was assigned that particular midnight shift, guarding a witnesses house that had recently been firebombed. Arjune the owner, was going to testify against members of the Jamaican drug cartel. Most of the officer's working in both precincts were friends, working closely together, backing each other on calls for service, around this crack ridden, run down portion of the city which was fueled with exploding crime rates and a lack of lawlessness. Unfortunately dealing with the results of the drug wars surrounding us became too familiar and part of our job. I recall seeing Eddie earlier in the shift on that freezing cold night, I then responding to a car fire several blocks away. As my partner and I waited for FDNY I recall hearing that radio tone-signal (10-13) that every officer dreads...(To this day it gives me the chills) I floored the RMP accelerator racing to the scene, It was confirmed, Eddie had been shot multiple times and shortly after succumbed to his severe wounds, he didn't stand a chance. This was an outright assassination-hit ordered by a drug lord "Pappy" Mason from prison, however at the time all officer's working were fearful for there own lives as well. We didn't know if there was a sniper involved? or possibly additional officer's in danger of being shot? as there were rumors floating on the streets that an officer(s) would be targeted. We proceeded very cautiously throughout the remainder of the shift while responding to calls etc. Eddie died a true hero! It took this incident to change poorly written policies at the time within NYPD including many others nationwide. This was also the beginning of the "War on drugs" namely the crack epidemic which had exploded in NYC and throughout the USA. President George H. W. Bush carried Eddie's shield as a reminder of this terrible crime that was intended to intimidate and send a message to law enforcement. Fortunately it had the opposite effect, especially when (4) defendants were convicted of his murder and to this day remain incarcerated thanks to an absolute thorough and incredible investigation by some of the best Detectives within the NYPD. Eddie your sacrifice will never be forgotten, your legacy changed NYC and the NYPD forever in a positive light, Thank you and the entire Byrne Family for your eternal sacrifice.

Steve Olson 113th ESU PCT. NYPD Patrol
RETIRED Virginia Beach Master Police Officer/ Detective

February 5, 2021

Rest easy

Mark Mottola

February 26, 2020

Ed, May you continue to 4ever RIP in Heaven with Our Lord and Savior my Brother in Blue!!! Keeping your Family and Friends in my Thoughts and Prayers...You will NEVER be 4GOTTEN!!!

Detective Ethel J. Riddle
NYPD - Retired

February 25, 2020

NYPD readies annual tribute to Officer Edward Byrne, shot dead on duty in '88

Posted on February 25, 2020 Newsday

Early in the morning of Feb. 26, 1988, NYPD Officer Edward Byrne, sitting alone in his patrol car as he guarded a home In Jamaica, Queens, was brutally executed by a group of drug dealers.

The assassination of Byrne, 22, a native of North Massapequa, stunned the nation. It also became a signature moment in the crack epidemic of the 1980s that fueled both an exploding crime rate and a climate of lawlessness in New York City, while sparking calls for action from elected officials.

More than 30 years later, NYPD brass and officers, like they have for the past three decades, will gather at midnight Tuesday at the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica to honor and remember Byrne. Among those planning to attend are NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and former commissioner William Bratton.

Cops will hold the memorial right after the midnight roll call, said Lawrence Byrne, the slain officer's brother and former NYPD legal counsel.

“We do this ceremony at this time every year because Eddie was ambushed at about 3:10 a.m. on February 26, just five days after his 22nd birthday, in uniform at his fixed post,” Byrne said.

Afterward, the group is scheduled to travel to the Inwood section of Queens where Edward Byrne was killed guarding the home of a witness only known by the name Arjune.

Four men, all in their 20s, were arrested and brought to trial for Byrne’s killing. Evidence in the case included a videotaped confession from one of the suspects, Scott Cobb, who stated the order for the execution-style slaying came from a jailed drug dealer, Harold “Pappy” Mason, as a message to cops in retaliation for his arrest on an unrelated gun charge.

Mason allegedly said, according to Cobb, that “we lose one, they lose one.”

President George H.W. Bush was so moved after Byrne’s death that he kept the cop's badge in his Oval Office desk, Lawrence Byrne said.

“This was a terrible and incredible crime, because it was a crime that was intended to send a message to law enforcement and try to intimidate law enforcement, Bryne said. "It had the opposite effect."

The four defendants were ultimately convicted of murdering the young officer. Cobb, Todd Scott and Phil Copeland were convicted in 1989. A fourth defendant, David McClary, was convicted in a separate trial.

Trial evidence included a city medical examiner's graphic testimony about the catastrophic injuries to Byrne’s head from five shots that essentially destroyed his brain.

Cobb, Scott, Copeland and McClary all come up for parole again this year, Lawrence Byrne said. Mason, convicted on federal charges, including ordering Edward Byrne's killing, was sentenced to life in prison without parole, he said.

Retired Police Officer
NYPD

February 25, 2020

During my shift I process reports and listen to shows on YouTube. Today I heard the FBI Files covering the case against the drug dealer who had Officer Byrne murdered.

The footage of the funeral broke my heart. No doubt that was his parents, his mother, looking shocked, deep in unbelievable grief at his funeral.

Ma'am, I want you to know that no matter how long it has been, we still honor your boy. We still learn about his death, the work that went into bringing his killers to justice, and know that you still miss him like it was yesterday. Your grief is shouldered by many still and we will never forget him.

Constable A Pandolfi #1249
York Regional Police, Ontario Canada

August 12, 2019

Rest in peace Officer Byrne. My dad served with the 102nd precinct for almost forty years. You were a young man, brave and full of integrity. You got that from your parents and from being with your dad, a New York City officer too.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

June 3, 2019

Still think of you very, very often, Ed. You're my silent partner every tour.

Det. Dan

February 26, 2019

May the Lords perpetual light shine upon you and grant you eternal peace.

RETIRED MOS
NYPD

December 11, 2018

no parole

jeff bray, no rank

December 11, 2018

When one cop dies, a small part of each one of us goes with him. I have worked twenty years helping cops get home every day at the end of their shift. It all comes down to saving just ONE life.

Jim DONAHUE
Wayne County Sheriff (ret)

December 11, 2018

Eddie,

Although I never had the pleasure of meeting you, I felt a connection to your death that still effects me to this very day.

I had worked, as you had, originally in District 32 in the Transit PD. I also went on to become a NYPD cop, and patrolled in Queens, and also have a father who was in law enforcement.

I remember how lawless it was back in the 1980’s, and how many endless cops were moved by the tragedy of your death. It served as a reminder for me to go “balls to the wall” to capture as many felons as was possible. Your spirit of protecting and serving continued in all of us.

It infuriates me that these cop killers are still alive, and it is absurd to think that anyone would dare consider to pardon them.

My son has joined the police dept. and I have told him about your sacrifice. He, too, will try his best to capture as many felons as possible.

Rest in peace and my condolences to your family and friends.

Marc Manfro
New York City P.D. Retired

October 29, 2018

To the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Byrne: I am so very sorry for this tragic loss! I proudly mailed my NO PAROLE FOR COP KILLERS letters today. To Officer Byrne: Thank You for your service and sacrifice. You are a Forever HERO! God Bless You All!

Allie Wroten
Proudly Supporting All L.E.O.’s
Wife of a Corrections Deputy

October 19, 2018

Such a young man like your colleague, Officer Scott Gadell, Officer Byrne you were taken way too young and your bravery and integrity won't be forgotten. My dad was a New York City officer from 1928 until 1966 working out of the 102nd precinct. Rest in peace. Ambushed by scum of the earth with no regard for human life. You and Scott Gadell both twenty-two and heroes forever.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

May 3, 2018

Eddie you are never forgotten...we wore the same uniform...I never had the chance to work with you and sadly I directed traffic at an interesection and cried as your hearse passed by. I teach all my LEO students about you and keep your memory alive! Your face is forever etched in my mind and your legacy will live forever!

Tina Swanno
Retired NCPD - NYPD class 84-58

February 26, 2018

On this the 30th anniversary of you being in perpetual peace, and watching over all of us, I want to thank you again for your service and sacrifice on that horrible day. All lives matter.

Lieutenant Ray Flores
NYPD (retired)

February 26, 2018

Posted: NY POST February 25, 2018

NYPD official: My cop brother’s killing was ‘turning point’ against crime
By Stephanie Pagones

The brother of the Queens cop who was fatally shot while on duty 30 years ago reflected on his loved one’s life — and how his death shaped the future of the NYPD.

“It was a very different New York then,” Larry Byrne, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for legal matters, told John Catsimatidis on AM 970’s “Cat’s Rountable” Sunday. “It really was a turning point in a year when we were approaching 2,000 homicides and thousands of shootings.”

Byrne’s brother, Edward, was assassinated on the early morning of Feb. 26, 1988 while he was sitting in his police car, guarding the home of a targeted witness in a drug lord’s trial. He was 22.
Howard “Pappy” Mason, who ran a drug gang in the neighborhood, had instructed other gang bangers to kill a cop as a way to “intimidate law enforcement and send a message,” Byrne recalled on the radio.

“He called his gang and said, ‘We have to send a message to the cops — they take one of us, we take one of them. You have to kill a cop,'” Byrne said.

Eddie was shot five times in the head, just five days after his birthday and less than one month since he had joined the force, his brother said.

“Really, everybody in New York and the country woke up and said, ‘If an armed police officer in uniform could be assassinated by drug dealers, then none of us are safe,’ And that’s when the battle in earnest began to take back the city.”

Eddie’s death prompted the creation of a federal criminal justice grant in his name designed to improve the policing system.

Three decades later, crime is at its lowest point since 1951 — with less than 300 murders in 2017 — and officers are striving to strengthen their relationships with the community through the department’s neighborhood policing initiative.

“It’s important that we remember 30 years later, and that we…never go back to those terrible days when no one in New York City was safe.”

Police Officer-retired
New York Police Department

February 25, 2018

You are still honored even today as a hero. You will NEVER be forgotten. God bless you and your beautiful family. Rest in peace brother.

(Retired)PO Cathy Williams
NYPD

July 17, 2017

Rest in peace my brother. You were taken away from us too soon in life. But your heroism will always be remembered by all of us in the N.Y.P.D. All blue lives matter.

Lieutenant Ray Flores (Ret.)
N.Y.P.D.

March 6, 2017

Thank you for serving in our law enforcement. I hope my letter made it to the parole board. RIP and my condolences to your family.

John Haseltine - Civilian

November 23, 2016

Proud to send my No Parole letter today. Rest in peace brother, you have not been forgotten. God bless the family, friends, and former co-workers of Officer Byrne during this time of frustration and re-opening the never healing wound.

Sr Patrolman Donnie Meaders (RET)
Wewoka (OK Police Department

November 11, 2016

You are remembered on this day. May God Bless your family.

Probation Parole Officer III Aaron Linn
WV Parole Services

May 13, 2016

His name is etched in my heart forever, Eddie you became my hero that day and I make sure to pass on your name to all I teach now. Your shield was carried by Pres. Bush (#1) and the federal memorial grant in your name is still going strong. I saluted you as your funeral procession went by holding back traffic as a Nassau cop and having been a city cop first I couldnt hold back the tears. I am crying as I write this now. You became an icon for a generation of cops and pushed the NYPD to realize its' tragic mistake leaving you alone that night and not knowing who that witness actually was testifying against..biggest dealer in Queens. You saved other cops from suffering a similar fate by making the NYPD change protocol. You can never be forgotten. I salute you again today!

Tina Swanno
NYPD / NCPD (retired)

February 27, 2016

To the Byrnes family your son made the ultimate sacrice.May God bless him and your family.I will never forget Eddie because I was also a cop at that time. Unfortunately NYPD doesnt educate their officers on what happened to your son. This tragedy should be taught in the police academy,I asked many of the new officers did you here what happeNED to Police officer Eddie Byrne and they had no idea.This is an outrage because it was not only an attack on cops but on society!!!!

SGT Greg Piquette
Retired NYPD

February 26, 2016

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.