Police Officer Joseph John McGarry

Police Officer Joseph John McGarry

Myrtle Beach Police Department, South Carolina

End of Watch Sunday, December 29, 2002

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Joseph John McGarry

Police Officer Joe McGarry was shot and killed when he and his partner attempted to talk to a murder suspect at a restaurant on North Kings Highway at 12:30 am.

The officers were inside a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant when they observed the man whom they recognized as being a suspect in a homicide that occurred about one month earlier. When the man exited the restaurant Officer McGarry engaged him in conversation. Believing him to be armed, Officer McGarry told him he was going to pat him down. The subject then turned and began to walk away while reaching for his waistband.

As Officer McGarry attempted to stop him the man pulled out a .45 caliber handgun and shot him in the face. Officer McGarry's partner returned fire, striking the suspect in the leg.

The suspect and a female friend fled the scene but were later apprehended. The man was charged with murder, resisting arrest, and assault. The male subject was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

In 2008 the South Carolina State Supreme Court overturned the death penalty decision. They said the jurors should have been given the option of convicting the suspect of voluntary manslaughter. The case was later re-tried and the suspect was again sentenced to death.

Officer McGarry had served with the Myrtle Beach Police Department for four years and was assigned to the Street Crimes Unit. He is survived by his fiancee, whom he proposed to five days before he was killed, and by his parents.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge 263

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to death

murder suspect, suspicious person

Most Recent Reflection

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I’m on vacation in Myrtle Beach and just read about Pfc McGarry. As a police officer in NJ for the last 27 yrs, these stories really hit home. Wish I could’ve met you brother.. RIP.

Sergeant Phil Gamarro
Belleville PD, Belleville NJ

August 15, 2021

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