Police Officer Vincent Bernard O'Donnell

Police Officer Vincent Bernard O'Donnell

Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Thursday, September 26, 1929

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Vincent Bernard O'Donnell

Police Officer Vincent O'Donnell succumbed to injuries sustained one month earlier when he singlehandedly arrested three subjects near the intersection of 17th Street near Lycoming Avenue.

He was on his foot patrol beat when he noticed three men standing in the intersection with guns in their hands. He commandeered a vehicle at the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Hunting Park Avenue and asked the driver to take him back to the intersection. As he was on the running board of the vehicle he ordered the men to "stick their hands up," at the same time one of the men made threatening comments back toward Officer O'Donnell.

As the man turned towards officer O'Donnell with his gun he was struck in the stomach with his blackjack knocking him almost unconscious. The second subject was then struck in the face with the butt of his service revolver as he lowered his gun. The third subject then attacked Officer O'Donnell from behind striking him in the stomach. He managed to strike the subject behind the ear with his blackjack with a backswing knocking the subject to the ground. The second subject was then struck in the jaw with Officer O'Donnell's blackjack rendering the subject unconscious. A female resident telephoned the local police district and told them that an officer was being murdered. Officers responded to the scene and placed the three subjects and a female accomplice under arrest.

It was later learned that they were waiting to rob an alcohol truck when spotted by Officer O'Donnell.

Because of his actions, Officer O'Donnell was commended for his bravery and awarded the Medal of Merit from the Philadelphia Public Ledger Newspaper. Officer O'Donnell died as a result of acute gangrenous appendicitis due to the blow to the stomach.

Officer O'Donnell was a U.S Army veteran of WWI and served with the Philadelphia Police Department for less than 12 years. He is survived by his wife and a son.


  • Age 35
  • Tour 11 years, 8 months
  • Badge 1878
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Incident Date Saturday, August 17, 1929
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Not available

robbery attempt, struggle

Most Recent Reflection

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Incredibly brave and heroic actions. No passage of time will ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 26, 2020

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