Today Superintendent Johnson retired and enshrined the stars of nine officers into the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case located in the lobby at police headquarters.
The stars enshrined belonged to the below officers, because the officers deaths occurred over the course of several decades, their original stars were no longer available for enshrinement. Instead, replicas of their era specific stars were made and enshrined in the case. You might notice that some of the stars do not have star numbers on them. This is due to the fact that the officer’s star number is unknown.
LINE OF DUTY DEATHS
Detective Nicholas M. Connelly #3673 – EOW 09 OCTOBER 1962 – Died from a gunshot wound. While off duty, he was shot in a gun battle after announcing his office during a robbery in a tavern.
Patrolman Bartholomew Cavanaugh #Unknown – EOW 15 DECEMBER 1898 – Died from injuries sustained after falling down a staircase. While on duty investigating a burglary in progress he stumbled inside an areaway and fell down a flight of stairs.
Patrolman Bernard “Bernie” W. Domagala #8996 – EOW 05 SEPTEMBER 2017 – Died from a gunshot wound. While on duty, Officer Domagala responded to a hostage / barricade situation and was struck in the head by gunfire. Officer Domagala survived but died 29 years after the incident as a result of the injuries he sustained on 14 JULY 1988.
Patrolman William Feeley #Unknown – EOW 31 JULY 1894 – Died from injuries sustained after being struck by a train. While on duty he fell from the train car he was riding into the path of another oncoming train.
Patrolman Austin L. Fitch #Unknown – EOW 14 NOV 1914 – Died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash. He attempted to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, former Governor Henry Horner, and was thrown from his motorcycle after he lost control.
Patrolman William McKinley Buck #Unknown – EOW 29 NOVEMBER 1941 – Died from injuries sustained in a car crash. While on routine patrol, Officer McKinley’s squad car was struck by another vehicle.
Patrolman Andre Van Vegten #14931 – EOW 02 NOVEMBER 2017 – Died from injuries sustained in an automobile crash. While enroute to a shots fired call, Officer Van Vegten and his partner observed a vehicle of four gang members. The officers attempted to pull the vehicle over and it fled. During the pursuit another vehicle veered into the officers lane. They swerved to avoid a collision and crashed into a flower planter. Officer Van Vegten survived but died 20 years after the incident as a result of the injuries he sustained on 07 JANUARY 1997.
PERFORMANCE OF DUTY DEATHS
Lieutenant Patrick Joseph McGann, Jr. #385 – EOW 13 JULY 1937 – Died from a heart attack. While driving in his squad car, after leaving the scene of a Criminal Trespass call, he became ill and slumped over the wheel causing the car to crash into a pole.
Patrolman Gary M. Gradle #9366 – EOW 05 APRIL 1996 – Died from a heart attack. He was discovered slumped over the wheel of his squad car and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.