Patrolman John Bresnahan

Patrolman John Bresnahan

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Wednesday, April 8, 1908

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John Bresnahan

Patrolman Jack Bresnahan succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained five days earlier in a case mistaken identity by another officer near the intersection of West 49th Street and 9th Avenue.

While off duty, Patrolman Bresnahan witnessed two men fighting and attempted to separate them when one of them attacked him. As Patrolman Bresnahan struck the subject with his blackjack the man fled on foot towards 9th Avenue. Another officer who was in plainclothes witnessed Patrolman Bresnahan running and attempted to stop him. A struggle ensued between the two officers who did realize each other's identities. The officer, fearing for his life after he was struck in the head by Patrolman Bresnahan's blackjack, shot him in the abdomen. Other nearby officers who were on duty came to the scene after being attracted by the gunfire quickly recognized both officers as off duty and rushed Patrolman Bresnahan to Roosevelt Hospital where he succumbed to the gunshot wound two days later.

On April 12th, 1908, the officer who shot Patrolman Bresnahan was acquitted by a coroner's jury of a charge of homicide.

Patrolman Bresnahan served with the New York City Police Department for only two months. He was survived by two brothers.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 2 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Incident Date Friday, April 3, 1908

foot pursuit, off duty, plainclothes

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“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

December 22, 2021

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