KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY BY GUNSHOT
Appointed: May 12, 1917
End of Watch: November 3, 1922
Thomas F. Gallagher, a policeman of the 24th and Wolf Street station was shot and killed in a fight with motor thieves at 24th and McKean Street. A deep gash in Gallagher’s head, apparently inflicted with a blackjack, offered mute evidence of how he had fought his assailants before falling fatally wounded. He was shot twice. One bullet fired from a .45 calibre revolver, struck him in the chest, the second hit him in the arm. He was found unconscious shortly after 1:30 a.m. and died at 6 o’clock in the Methodist Hospital. No one saw Gallagher get shot, but investigations by detectives lead them to believe the policeman saw at least two men attempting to break into a private garage at 24th and McKean Street he tried to arrest them and was shot in the struggle. At about 1:30 a.m. Mrs. Samuel Simons, who lives at the northeast corner, 24th and McKean Street heard two shots. She ran to the window and looking out saw Gallagher stretched out on the pavement. Mrs. Simons awakened her husband who owns a row of twenty private garages which stretch along 24th Street, Simons dressed hurriedly, telephoned the police station which was three blocks from the scene of the shooting, and went to Officer Gallagher’s assistance.
Blood was flowing from his chest and he was unconscious. He did not regain consciousness and police were unable to earn the details of the attack. Twice, within the past few months, a large black touring car owned by Simons had been taken from garage number 9 in the group. Each time, police records indicate, the machine was used by motor bandits who later abandoned it after hold ups. A few days ago, Simons shifted the car, which is a powerful one from No.9 to No.7 in the hope of deceiving the thieves. Detectives believe that early today the same bandits went to the row of private garages to get Simons’ car and were prying at the locks when detected by Officer Gallagher.
The door of garage No.6 had been opened and it was just outside that door Gallagher was found. The machine in this garage is owned by Frank Charles, 2211 McKean Street and is a bright yellow car. Police feel certain the thieves had been looking for Simons’ car. Gallagher apparently was shot as he entered the door for his body was found just outside and no blood was found on the floor.
The only clue to the identity of the slayers was an empty shell from a .45 calibre pistol. Officer Gallagher had a splendid record during his six years of service and was formerly connected with the 20th and Federal Street station. His widow was frantic with grief when told of his death. Holding her two sons, Thomas, six and Joseph, ten, close to her, she declared they would never rest until the murderers of her husband are found. “We will devote our lives to finding them,” she sobbed. (At is impossible to do a follow up, files are missing, the results of their search are still being followed however.)