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Sergeant Rodney Gillis | New York City Police Department, New York New York City Police Department, New York


Rodney Gillis

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch: Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 33

Tour: 13 years

Badge # 1889

Cause: Terrorist attack

Weapon: Aircraft; Passenger jet

Offender: 19 suicide attackers

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Sergeant Rodney Gillis was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while attempting to rescue the victims trapped in the World Trade Center.

Sergeant Gillis had served with the New York City Police Department for 13 years and was assigned to ESU Truck 8. He is survived his two daughters, son, brother, and his parents.

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

On the morning of September 11, 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 two of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. After the impact of the first plane, 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 first tower unexpectedly collapsed due as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The second tower collapsed a short time later. 71 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.

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 9, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11, 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 1, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding. During the raid, they shot and killed bin Laden.

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

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Sgt. Gillis, I carry your memory as an example of a caring professional member of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit. As a Sr. Parole Officer I was a member of the Joint NYPD, NYS Parole/ Targeted Offender Program (TOPs Unit). There were numerous times that your team lead our Execution of Search Warrants. On the day of the attack I monitored the ESU Radio Traffic and recognized you making a request for a helicopter to transport you & your team to the roof of the tower so you could attempt to rappel down to those trapped by the fire. Your bravery & sacrifice will always be remembered.

Chief James Contino (Retired)
NYS Parole, Special Offender Bureau
September 11, 2015


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