City Salutes Sacrifice of Officer Eddie Byrne on Anniversary of his Assassination

City Salutes Sacrifice of Officer Eddie Byrne on Anniversary of his Assassination

By Michael V. Cusenza

The City’s finest and its grateful constituents this week celebrated the life, service, and ultimate sacrifice of Edward Byrne, a rookie Queens cop whose vicious murder on a Jamaica street unnerved the nation 36 years ago.

Byrne, just seven months out of the academy and assigned to the 103rd Precinct, was summarily executed on Feb. 26, 1988 as he sat in his marked radio motor patrol car at 107th Avenue and Inwood Street, guarding the home of a critical witness in a major drug case against gangster Howard “Pappy” Mason. The home of the witness had already been firebombed to discourage him from testifying against Mason in open court.

File Photo Police Officer Edward Byrne

File Photo
Police Officer Edward Byrne

Scott Cobb was the wheelman, tasked with driving the hitmen to and from the Jamaica scene. Cobb, along with David McClary, Todd Scott and Phillip Copeland, acted in concert to carry out the notorious drug kingpin Mason’s orders to kill a police officer.

At approximately 3:30 a.m., Scott knocked on the passenger-side window of Byrne’s car to distract him as McClary opened fire just outside the driver’s side window. Byrne was shot five times in the head with a .38-caliber pistol.

He was 22 years old.

Last summer, Cobb was granted parole after spending more than 30 years in prison for the murder.

“When Eddie Byrne was assassinated,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said last August, “it galvanized cops and the community to work together to take our streets back from these violent drug gangs. That was Eddie Byrne’s legacy, and the insane Parole Board is tearing it to shreds. New York City police officers are absolutely sickened by this parole decision, and New Yorkers who care about safe streets should be, too. We need you to speak up and demand that our elected leaders in Albany fix the broken parole system so that none of the other Byrne assassins go free.”

Cobb was released on Aug. 9, 2023.

“His tragic murder changed the course of American policing,” City Police Commissioner Edward Caban said. “Today and every day, we honor our vow to never forget Eddie.”


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