Special Deputy Thomas A. Fay

Special Deputy Thomas A. Fay

San Diego County Sheriff's Department, California

End of Watch Saturday, May 17, 1919

Add to My Heroes

Thomas A. Fay

Special Deputy Thomas Fay was shot and killed after arresting a suspect for disturbing the peace in La Mesa. Deputy Fay was off duty when he heard two neighbors arguing. He identified himself as a deputy and placed one man, a retired dentist, 49, under arrest. He then allowed the man to retrieve a hat from inside his home, but the man instead came out with a gun and fatally shot Deputy Fay.

The argument started when the neighbor fired a shotgun at a rabbit in his yard. Some of the pellets from the shotgun blast hit the front yard of the dentist. After he shot Deputy Fay he opened fire on two women nearby, thankfully missing both, one who was holding a baby. One of the women's brother jumped from the second floor of a nearby home, grabbed the suspect, and held him until police arrived.

The suspect, who claimed temporary insanity, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life on June 21, 1920. He died in San Quentin Prison on March 20, 1961.

Deputy Fay was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 29
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Died in prison


Most Recent Reflection

View all 8 Reflections

Rest In Peace Brother LEO. You are honored and remembered on the 99th anniversary of your EOW.

Officer Mike Robinson (Ret)
Upland Police Dept. CA

May 17, 2018

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.