Patrolman William O'Brien

Patrolman William O'Brien

Rochester Police Department, New York

End of Watch Friday, May 2, 1919

William O'Brien

Patrolman William O'Brien was shot and killed while investigating a burglary, at 290 Garson Avenue, at approximately 9:00 pm.

Patrolman O'Brien responded to the scene on his police motorcycle and caught the man exiting the back door of the house. When he ordered the man to stop the subject fired a single round, striking Patrolman O'Brien in the chest. Despite being mortally wounded, Patrolman O'Brien was able to return fire but did not strike the man.

The subject fled to the front of the house and dove through a window to escape. A special police officer who was working in the area due to a recent rash of burglaries heard the gunshots and also responded to the scene. He captured the suspect following a short foot pursuit.

The suspect was convicted of Patrolman O'Brien's murder and sentenced to death. He was executed on July 29th, 1920.

Patrolman O'Brien had served with the Rochester Police Department for five years and had previously served with the Rochester Fire Department.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 344

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Executed in 1920

Most Recent Reflection

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The wicked flee where no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion
Proverbs 28:1
Uncle Bill, the stories of how you lived your life were told often in my family as I grew up. I did not realize the significance of your sacrifice until I was older and I can say this knowledge has made an indelible mark on my life. Thank you for the life you lived. Your watch is over. May you rest unforgotten and in eternal peace.

Daniel, son of Joseph E. O'Brien

May 17, 2016

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