Police Officer David O'Brien

Police Officer David O'Brien

Milwaukee Police Department, Wisconsin

End of Watch Saturday, November 24, 1917

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David O'Brien

Police Officer David O'Brien was killed when a bomb exploded in the department's Central Police Station.

Officer O'Brien had served with the Milwaukee Police Department for 20 years. He was survived by his second wife, two sons, and his mother. He was predeceased by his first wife and infant daughter. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Nine Milwaukee police officers and two civilians were killed when a bomb exploded inside of the Central Police Station at the intersection of Broadway and Oneida Street (modern-day Wells Street).

The bomb had been found in an alley between a church and its adjacent mission house. A church member and citizen brought the bomb to the police station and gave it to Station Keeper Henry Deckert, who took it to the assembly room as roll call was starting.

As the officers examined the device it exploded, killing eight officers inside of the room, one officer in the radio room above the assembly room, and two civilians who were inside of the station.

No suspects were ever identified but it was believed at the time that the bomb had been placed at the church by anarchist sympathizers.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Bomb
  • Weapon Explosives; Bomb
  • Offender Case never solved


Most Recent Reflection

View all 11 Reflections

Thank you for your serve my beloved great grandfather. You must know your family still speaks of you fondly, has never forgotten you. It seems the loss was so long ago, yet not that long ago. I realize if you had only lived as long as my father, your grandson, I and five of your great grandchildren would have had the chance to spend time with you on this earth. Someday I’ll hear your stories firsthand. I’m sure my grandpa, who had to see what the anarchists did to you, to say, yes this is my father, is finally at peace and at your side along with my dad and my sons. Eternal Rest Grant unto You All and Your Fellow Officers, Oh Lord, and Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon All of You. May the Souls of All the Faithful Departed, Through the Mercy of God, Rest In Peace.

Christopher O’Brien

November 24, 2020

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