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Sergeant Michael F. McNeil, Jr. | Albany Police Department, New York Albany Police Department, New York

Sergeant

Michael F. McNeil, Jr.

Albany Police Department, New York

End of Watch: Monday, November 29, 1971

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 43

Tour: 14 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun; Luger

Offender: Deceased

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Sergeant Michael McNeil was shot and killed while questioning a member of a motorcycle gang. Sergeant McNeil was driving a police matron home when he witnessed a car travel through a red light. The vehicle matched the description of a car used in an armed robbery in the next town.

After stopping the vehicle, Sergeant McNeil noticed a discrepancy with the registration so he ordered the occupants of the car to follow him back to his station. He brought the driver inside to question him. When he went back outside to question the passengers he found they had escaped.

Sergeant McNeil called for back up and started to search for the remaining occupants of the car. He found one of the suspects on Chestnut Street and he ordered him into the patrol car. As Sergeant McNeil got back into the patrol car, the suspect shot him twice, killing him instantly.

The suspect escaped but was captured later in the morning in a neighboring city. The suspect was out on $50,000 bail for an assault in Connecticut and was also wanted for a separate murder. He was convicted of Sergeant McNeil's murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He died in prison while serving the sentence.

Sergeant McNeil had served with the agency for 14 years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, three sons and two brothers. One of brothers also served as an Albany police officer.

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My fiancé, later husband, Dennis Cunningham, was in the same squad as Mike, and Mike was his best friend on the force. Five people were shot to death at the Campus at the Dept of Labor where I worked (one in my office) the week Mike was killed. Also, Officer Eddie Stevens was shot at that time, so all we did was go from one wake to another. Denny always said Mike was a sterling individual and he loved him. He was shattered. I was at his mother's house waiting for him that day and he came in like a shot, screaming that he would "take out" the man who killed his friend and wouldn't be back until he did it. He was totally wild over the killing of his friend. He had just broken his toe and had a cast on his leg, but off he went into the night looking for the man who destroyed his friend. It seems like it was just yesterday that happened. Every time I hear certain songs it brings it all back, like "El Condor Pasa" by Simon and Garfunkel, which was out around that time, and "Have You Seen Her" by the Chi Lites. It's funny what music does, it brings out the most emotional times in our lives back in Technicolor, and you watch it all again in your mind, the good and the bad. Denny was a young cop, serious about his job, but very emotional and his heart was broken over Mike. He never got over it.

claudia cunningham, wife of officer
wfe of friend of Mike's
February 12, 2016

 

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