Police Officer Mark Joseph Ellis

Police Officer Mark Joseph Ellis

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Mark Joseph Ellis

Officer Mark Ellis was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while attempting to rescue the victims trapped in the World Trade Center.

He was assigned to Transit District 4.
Officer Ellis had been employed with the New York City Police Department for four years, and is survived by his parents and a sister.

He was posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department's Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.

Please click here to visit the memorials of all of the law enforcement officers killed in this terrorist attack.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge 11441

Incident Details

  • Cause Terrorist attack
  • Weapon Aircraft; Passenger jet
  • Offender 19 suicide attackers

Most Recent Reflection

View all 68 Reflections

I remember when we were in the NYPD Police Academy together assigned to field training in the 110th precinct in May of 1998. We were both the same age, and were both filled with the ambition that rookies often have. Our shields were shiny and our gun belts brand new. We compared equipment and complained about how hard it was to pay for a hundred dollar flashlight on a rookie's salary. You and I were assigned to a foot post on Roosevelt Av and as the 7 train roared over us, we spoke about how we couldn't wait to graduate the academy and start our careers at our permanent commands. We also talked about our ambitions and expectations in law enforcement. We exchanged phone numbers; spoke a couple of times after graduation but since we were assigned to different commands in different boroughs, we eventually lost touch. I came across your number in the summer of 2001 and was going to call you to say hello, but life as a NYC Police Officer often leaves us with little time for catching up.

I also remember the sinking feeling I felt when I looked across the East River and saw the first tower collapse on September 11th, 2001. All I could think about was how many brother Officers and Firefighters I just witnessed lose their lives in a matter of a moment. I was overwhelmed with the intense feeling that you get when a fellow Officer is calling a 10-13 (Officer needs HELP!) over the radio.

We all felt heartbroken when it was ascertained that we where missing 23 NYPD Officers, along with many Port Authority Officers and FDNY firefighters. My jaw dropped when I heard you where one of the missing. It really hit home when an Officer falls that is the same age as me and graduated in the same academy class. It then occurred to me how easily it could have been me.

The subsequent report of how you and your partner took over a NYC cab (an accomplishment in of itself) and rushed to the WTC to save lives makes all of us proud. Your sacrifice makes me realize the importance of our work and how precious life is.

Our lives and careers started around the same time, but yours ended way too early. As I continue my life and career in law enforcement (I moved on to the Village/Town of Mt Kisco PD and then the Westchester County PD) I carry the lessons learned from my reflections and along with our brother Officers nationwide, greatly appreciate the bravery

Detective Joseph A. Donza
Westchester County Police Department

February 11, 2018

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