Captain William Thompson

Captain William Thompson

New York State Office of Court Administration, New York

End of Watch Tuesday, September 11, 2001

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William Thompson

Captain William Thompson was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while attempting to rescue the victims trapped in the World Trade Center.

He had been employed with the New York State Office of Court Administration for 27 years, and was an instructor at the Court Officers Academy.

He is survived by his two sons and mother.

Captain Thompson's body was recovered on March 22, 2002.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.

Please click here to visit the memorials of all of the law enforcement officers killed in this terrorist attack.

Bio

  • Age 51
  • Tour 27 years
  • Badge 85

Incident Details

  • Cause Terrorist attack
  • Weapon Aircraft; Passenger jet
  • Offender 19 suicide attackers

Most Recent Reflection

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Posted on Queens Daily Eagle September 10, 2019

Court officers honor colleagues who died on 9/11

Sgt. Thomas Jurgens, Sgt. Mitchel Wallace and Capt. William Harry Thompson died in the World Trade Center.

Eighteen years ago, court officers working in the Manhattan courts or in the old Beaver Street training academy heard that two planes had collided with the World Trade Center towers and sprang into action.

More than 20 officers ran into the building to rescue victims of the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. Three didn’t make it out.

Capt. William Harry Thompson, Sgt. Mitchel Wallace and Sgt. Thomas Jurgens died on 9/11 and other first responders, including Court Officer Lt. Theodore “Teddy” Leoutsakos, died from injuries and illnesses related to their experience at Ground Zero. Their memory lives on through service and an annual ceremony.

Court officers will gather Wednesday in the ceremonial courtroom of the Queens Criminal Courthouse to honor their heroic colleagues and to remember all who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

The ceremony at Queens Criminal Court is one of several events taking place at courts around the city and state, said Chief Joseph Baccellieri, Jr., the commanding officer/chief of training at the New York State Court Officers Academy.

“A lot of locations put together their own local way of paying homage to everyone we lost on 9/11,” Baccellieri said. “A lot of them are locally done by the people who work at those facilities. There will be moments of silence, small ceremonies.

The flag that draped Captain William Harry Thompson’s body when he was taken from Ground Zero and his official shield and the jewelry that was recovered with him. Photo courtesy of Joseph Baccellieri.
The flag that draped Captain William Harry Thompson’s body when he was taken from Ground Zero and his official shield and the jewelry that was recovered with him. Photo courtesy of Joseph Baccellieri.

The state court system’s official ceremony will take place at the Captain William H. Thompson, Sergeant Thomas Jurgens and Sergeant Mitchel Wallace New York State Court Officers Academy in Brooklyn, which opened late last year. The academy is named for the three officers who died in 9/11.

Baccellieri said the academy graduated the largest class of new court officers in state history. The 240 recruits began their training in February and will observe their first 9/11 ceremony in their careers.

Deputy Chief Administrative Judge George Silver, the acting administrative judge in Queens Supreme Court, Civil Term, had the idea of moving the ceremony to the Brooklyn academy, Baccellieri said.

“At some point, [Silver] said, ‘Why don’t we have our ceremony at this magnificent facility that was dedicated to them,” Baccellieri said. “We hope to have it here from now on.”

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Vito C. Caruso, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina Mendelson, Chief of Public Safety Michael Magliano, Silver and Baccellieri will all be in attendance

Baccellieri was one of the first court officers to arrive at the World Trade Center. He and two colleagues entered the North Tower and climbed the stairs, pausing to assist people.

Baccellieri said he and the officers reached the 51st floor of the building when they felt the building shake. The South Tower, where Thompson was working to rescue people, had just collapsed.

Workers at Ground Zero eventually recovered Thompson’s jewelry, including a special anchor pendant, which they delivered to his family.

“Thompson has two sons, each of them had an anchor, so recovering it had extra special meaning,” Baccellieri said.

In 2015, Leoutsakos, a court officer lieutenant, died from pancreatic cancer related to his experience as a Ground Zero first responder.

Later that year, the city renamed the corner of 29th Street and 21st Avenue in Astoria “Theodore Leoutsakos Way” in a special ceremony attended by Leoutsakos’ family and local lawmakers Michael Gianaris and Costa Constantinides.

The street sign is located near the home of Leoutsakos, who served as a court officer for 24 years.

“We are so honored to have the street my family has lived on for 47 years co-named in our father’s honor. Our father was a man who believed in serving his community and country,” Leoutsakos’ daughters Stacey, Cynthia and Stephanie said in a statement. “Today is a celebration of my father and a proud day for our entire family.”

Retired Police Officer
NYPD

September 10, 2019

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