Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Edward Byrne (police officer)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Badge number

Other names
Edward Burns

Edward Byrne

Years of service
1986 - 1988

On the left, mug shots of the murderers of Edward Byrne, David McClary, Todd Scott, and Howard Mason with serious faces. On the right, a patrol car and police officers at the crime scene where Edward Byrne was shot and killed from ambush.

February 21, 1966 (age 22) (
New York City, New York, USA

1986 - Commissioned as a Police Officer

February 26, 1988 (aged 22) Jamaica, Queens, New York, United States

Howard Mason, Kenneth McGriff, Rich Porter

Drugs guns and the assassination of a rookie police officer edward byrne

Edward "Eddie" R. Byrne (February 21, 1966 – February 26, 1988) was a police officer in the New York City Police Department who became well known in the United States after he was murdered in the line of duty.


A blue and gray police patrol car with a police uniform and with the name of Edward Byrne.

Byrne's father had also been an NYPD officer. Byrne had joined the NYPD on July 15, 1986 and was stationed in the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, Queens. Prior to joining the NYPD, Byrne was a NYC Transit cop.

Edward Byrne smiling, wearing a black police cap, blue long sleeves, and a black necktie.

1988 channel 7 story on edward byrne incident


Edward Byrne smiling, wearing a black police cap, blue long sleeves, and a black necktie.

Around 3:30 a.m, on February 26, 1988 Byrne was sitting in his marked patrol car on 107th Avenue and Inwood Street in South Jamaica, Queens. He was assigned to keep an eye on the house of a local Guyanese immigrant named Arjune, who had repeatedly called the police to report on illegal activities on his street. The house had been previously firebombed on two separate occasions and the owner repeatedly threatened. Despite this recent violence, and an ongoing crime wave overtaking South Queens, Byrne was assigned to this post alone.

Edward Byrne smiling and wearing a black police cap.

As Byrne sat in his car another car pulled up beside him. Two men exited, and one of them knocked on the passenger side window of Byrne's cruiser while a second man crept up on the driver's side and shot Byrne in the head five times, with a .38 caliber pistol. Two other men acted as lookouts. Byrne was pronounced dead at the hospital. He had just turned 22 years old.

It was later learned that the assailants had canvassed the immigrant's house twice on preceding days before killing Officer Byrne, but decided not to kill the lone officer in the patrol car since the first officer they encountered was a young female, and the second was a black male.

The murder prompted nationwide outrage. President Ronald Reagan personally called the Byrne family to offer condolences. George H.W. Bush carried Byrne's badge with him on his campaign for president in 1988.

Edward Byrne with a serious face, wearing long sleeves, and a black necktie.

The four killers were identified as Philip Copeland, Todd Scott, Scott Cobb, and David McClary. All four were apprehended within a week of the murder and were all eventually convicted: Copeland, Scott, and Cobb were convicted after trial of Murder in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree; McClary was convicted later as the shooter, in a separate trial, of Murder in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. All were sentenced to 25 years to life by Queens Supreme Court Justice Thomas A. Demakos, who had presided over the trials. Cobb, in a videotaped confession which was played at trial, provided graphic details of the killing and told of the bragging of the participants in the aftermath, as well as indicated that the killing was ordered from jail by drug dealer Howard "Pappy" Mason.


Edward Byrne smiling, wearing a black police cap, long sleeves, and a black necktie.

  • In honor of Police Officer Edward Byrne, 91st Avenue was renamed P.O. Edward R. Byrne Avenue.
  • Pol. Officer Edward Byrne Park in Queens was dedicated on August 3, 1995.
  • A school in the Bronx, Junior High School 101, was renamed in his honor.
  • The Police Athletic League renamed its Queens Center the Edward R. Byrne Institute and fills it year-round with quality educational and recreational programs.
  • The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program was established via the Department of Justice which directs funding to local law enforcement agencies with the primary aim to enhance officer safety via equipment, technology, and training.
  • The baseball field at his alma mater, Plainedge High School in North Massapequa, New York, is named in his honor.

  • References

    Edward Byrne (police officer) Wikipedia