Police Officer Thomas Schimenti, Jr.

Police Officer Thomas Schimenti, Jr.

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Friday, August 17, 1979

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Thomas Schimenti, Jr.

Police Officer Thomas Schimenti was shot and killed following a foot chase with a bank robbery suspect.

Officer Schimenti was walking his beat when he was flagged down by a woman who told him that a man in a gorilla mask was robbing a bank at 100 Park Avenue. As Officer Schimenti turned toward the bank, he observed the suspect exit and begin to flee north on Park Avenue on foot. Officer Schimenti began to chase the suspect and radioed for assistance. As Officer Schimenti was chasing the suspect, two detectives who were in the area observed the chase and joined in.

They chased the suspect to the front of Grand Central Terminal where the suspect turned and opened fire. Officer Schimenti was struck and killed, and one of the detectives was wounded. The suspect was wounded once and fled. He was apprehended by the second detective, who found him hiding under a car one block away.

Officer Schimenti had served with the New York City Police Department for 12 years and was assigned to the Midtown South Precinct. He was survived by his wife and two children.

On August 17th, 1988, a popular street corner on Staten Island was renamed in Officer Schimenti's honor.

Bio

  • Age 36
  • Tour 12 years
  • Badge 26481

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .380 caliber
  • Offender Apprehended

Most Recent Reflection

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Remembering hero cop Thomas Schimenti, 41 years after he died in line of duty

Posted on August 17, 2020
SI Live News


Police Officer Thomas Schimenti Jr. was a Sunnyside resident who served the NYPD for 12 years.

Monday marks 41 years since he died in the line of duty at the hands of a bank robbery suspect in Manhattan.

On Aug. 17, 1979, the 35-year-old cop was pursuing the suspect from outside a Chemical Bank on Park Avenue near Grand Central Station. Schimenti cornered him inside an arcade on 42nd Street.

As Schimenti attempted to arrest the suspect, the suspect turned around suddenly and fired, fatally wounding Schimenti and injuring a detective who was with him.

The South Beach native and New Dorp High School graduate’s death created a push for bulletproof vests for every police officer city-wide.

He was one of 1,000 police officers chosen in a lottery for the vests but had not received it yet when he was gunned down.

At the time of his death, Schimenti was living with his wife, Diane, and two daughters, then 9 and 10.

On Monday, the NYPD Chaplains Unit commemorated the officer’s sacrifice in a Twitter post.

The post reads: “We will #neverforget @NYPDMTS Police Officer Thomas Schimenti Jr. who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1979. May he rest in eternal peace.”

In 2009, a memorial plaque was placed below the flagpole at the corner of Richmond and Todt HIll roads in Grant City in Schimenti’s honor.

Then-Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stood in solidarity with Schimenti’s family to honor the NYPD hero.

“We are all here to pay tribute to a true New York City hero and indeed an American hero,” said Kelly. “One thing is still true today as it was then. The essence of the strength of this department lies in the dedication of its police officers.”

Retired Police Officer
NYPD

August 17, 2020

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