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Sergeant Donald J. O'Leary, Jr. | New York City Police Department, New York New York City Police Department, New York


Donald J. O'Leary, Jr.

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch: Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 48

Tour: 21 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: 9/11 related illness

Incident Date: 9/11/2001

Weapon: Aircraft; Passenger jet

Offender: 19 Suicide attackers

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Sergeant Donald O'Leary died from illnesses he contracted while inhaling toxic materials as he participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Sergeant O'Leary had served with the New York City Police Department for 21 years and was assigned to Transit District 11. He is survived by his wife.

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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Most Recent Reflection

This will be the fourth Yankees Opening Day since you left us Donnie. You were a great cop and a great friend and are truly missed. I posted the following on Facebook on April 6, 2015 and it's still true today. I will be wearing that jersey and jacket today as the Yankees take on the Rays. Love you my brother. Until we meet again....


Going to the Yankees Home Opener today against the Blue Jays with Phil Rosenberg, and in doing so we will honor the memory of Don O'Leary, who passed away a little over a year ago after a long battle with cancer that was a result of his work down at ground zero after the 9/11 terror attacks. I have a lot of fond memories of Donnie, including many Yankee Home Openers. The Replacement Player delayed Home Opener of 1995, where there was a post game "mini riot" in the parking field next to the old stadium; the Home Opener of 1996, where it snowed and The Boss, George Steinbrenner, allowed all ticket holders to go to another game, and we ended up going to Dwight "Doc" Gooden's no hitter. The Home Opener of 1998, where both teams combined for 30 runs. The Home Opener of 1999 where it rained the whole game and they called it in the bottom of the 7th. The Home Opener of 2002, where Andy Pettitte got his 1,000 K. I attended so many great games with Donnie. This year , thanks to Donnie's wife Maria, I will have the honor of wearing Don's favorite Bernie Williams jersey and Yankees Jacket to the game. Donnie will be with us in spirit and we will raise a cup in his honor. Here's to a good game and a Yankee victory.

Lieutenant Gregory W. Chupa
April 10, 2017


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