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Patrolman Robert J. Fitzgerald | New York City Police Department, New York New York City Police Department, New York

Patrolman

Robert J. Fitzgerald

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch: Saturday, January 11, 1908

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available

Tour: Not available

Badge # 1754

Cause: Struck by streetcar

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Patrolman Robert Fitzgerald was struck and killed and thrown into the East River from the Brooklyn Bridge by a trolley car. Patrolman Fitzgerald was informed by a passer by that a man was running back and forth on the tracks which ran east and west on the Brooklyn Bridge and that the man was attempting to commit suicide. Patrolman Fitzgerald started a search for the man.

Patrolman Fitzgerald spotted the suspect some distance from him near the Manhattan Anchorage tower. The man was climbing down one of the ladders that lead from the walk to the tracks used by the elevated trains. Patrolman Fitzgerald followed the man. The man reached the elevated tracks and darted out on to the roadway alongside the tracks, squeezing through the iron work that separated the area from the trolley tracks and the bridge roadway.

Patrolman Fitzgerald saw the man start toward the guard rail at the side of the roadway and he sprang down the ladder and tried to squeeze through the iron work on the roadway. Patrolman Fitzgerald never saw the approaching trolley car and the motorman did not see the Patrolman until it was to late to do anything. The front of the trolley car hit Patrolman Fitzgerald, forcing him back. He dropped through the trestle and down into the East River below.

Responding officers were able to subdue the suicidal man and take him into custody. The Harbor Patrol immediately started a search for Patrolman Fitzgerald, but were unsuccessful. His body was finally recovered on March 18, 1908.

Patrolman Fitzgerald was assigned to the Bridge Precinct.

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I read about you from your nephew's account in the book "Brave Hearts." Thank you for serving your community. May you rest in peace.

Joy
Civilian
June 26, 2014

 

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