Police Officer William T. Birch

Police Officer William T. Birch

Fort Lee Police Department, New Jersey

End of Watch Sunday, September 4, 1966

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William T. Birch

Police Officer William Birch was shot and killed while when he responded to a holdup alarm at a hotel on Route 4 West at 0045 hours. As he arrived on scene one of the two suspects exited the hotel lobby and shot him three times, killing him. The suspect then abducted a couple at gunpoint and forced them to drive away. The suspect was arrested a short time later after a shootout with officers. The man he abducted also assisted with the arrest as he was armed at the time the suspect abducted them.

The second suspect was also apprehended after a shootout with officers. The suspect who shot Officer Birch was sentenced to death but had the sentenced commuted to life in prison in 1972 when the death penalty was abolished. The man was paroled in 1982.

In January 2005, at the age of 79, the suspect was arrested in Massachusetts for attempting to sell a handgun to an informant while bragging that he killed a police officer in New Jersey and got away with serving only 15 years. He was returned to prison in New Jersey for violating his parole. He died in prison 2 years later.

Officer Birch had been with the agency for just over two years and was survived by his wife and three daughters.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 2 years, 6 months
  • Badge 134

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Died in prison


Most Recent Reflection

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Miss you today and everyday. People say it gets easier with time but I disagree. It just is not as painful. I am doing well and have made the most of my life and today you have been on my mind, because even in 2020 you had to make an appearance . I am finally able to say thanks for all the gifts you gave me. My two sisters who are not only my best friends but soul sisters. You would be so proud of how we turned out in spite of all the crap that came our way. You can rest now and hang with your parents. We are ok.
All gave some, some gave all!!!! You made the world a safer place for your brothers in blue and for that I am proud. Love you infinity Dad.

Kathleen Birch Gomez

October 7, 2020

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