Patrolman Thomas C. Whitelock

Patrolman Thomas C. Whitelock

Riverton Police Department, New Jersey

End of Watch Wednesday, January 14, 1976

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Thomas C. Whitelock

Patrolman Thomas Whitelock was shot and killed when responding to a report of a mentally unstable individual wielding a knife.

Patrolman Whitelock responded to a second floor apartment in Riverton to investigate the report of a naked suicidal man with a knife that was attempting to cut this throat. Patrolman Whitelock arrived on location and requested back up. A Palmyra police officer was off-duty and responded in his own personal vehicle to back up Patrolman Whitelock. Once both officers were on location they were met in the living room by the naked suspect holding a knife, he had cut his penis and was attempting to slit his throat. The blood covered suspect ran down the back fire escape of the residence and was tackled by both officers.
Patrolman Whitelock managed to get one handcuff on the suspect, at this point the suspect ripped Patrolman Whitelock's .357 Colt Python from it's holster and shot the other officer once in the chest. Then the suspect aimed the gun at Patrolman Whitelock and shot him in the chest killing him. The other officer then discharged his Colt .45 Caliber semi-automatic hitting the suspect all seven times point blank in the chest killing him.

Over 2000 Officers attended Patrolman Whitelock's funeral, they walked over two miles from the funeral home to the cemetery in a heavy snow storm to pay their respects. Patrolman Whitelock was the first Riverton Police Officer killed in the line of duty.

Patrolman Whitelock had served with the Riverton Police Department for seven years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and son.


  • Age 30
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Shot and killed


Most Recent Reflection

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I was 8 years old at the time, and I just remember the initial shock, and the the overwhelming support. Officers from near and far showed up for the funeral, including from Canada. A moment in history when community truly bonded. I still see officer Norcross around. 2 amazing heroes. Tragic day that we will always remember.

John Sauls
Life long resident of Palmyra and Sacred Heart Church

November 5, 2021

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