Detective James L. Daggett

Detective James L. Daggett

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Monday, September 10, 1951

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James L. Daggett

Detective James Daggett was killed when he and three other detectives interrupted four men who were in the middle of setting a fire.

Detective Daggett and the other detectives observed the four men enter a building at 9 West 18th Street in Manhattan, carrying some cartons in. The men exited the building carrying empty containers. Two of the men left in their car, and two others re-entered the building.

Two detectives stopped the two suspects in the car and questioned them. The suspects confessed that they planned to burn the building down. Detective Daggett and another detective entered the building to apprehend the two suspects inside when a massive explosion occurred, killing Detective Daggett and one suspect. The other detective and the other suspect were critically injured. The second suspect died later at a local hospital. The two remaining suspects were later indicted for murder in the first degree.

Of the two remaining suspects one was the owner of the building, a clothing store. Because business was bad he had hired the other three to burn the building so he could collect the insurance. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. In 1955 his sentence was commuted to life. He was pardoned by Governor Nelson D. Rockefellow on December 23, 1971. The last suspect, who was hired to carry the explosives inside the building, was acquitted because he was mentally handicapped and may not have understood what he was doing.

Detective Howard Phelan, the other detective who was critically injured, never fully recovered and was forced to retire.

Detective Daggett was assigned to the Safe Loft and Truck Squad.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 727

Incident Details

  • Cause Explosion

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Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry, proclaimed, “The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.” [John 15:13 GW]

Chaplain Steven R. Closs, D.Div, MSBS, NCCA
Ordained/Licensed Independent Christian Clergy
The Peacemakers Prayer Ministry
Merrimack, NH 03054

Captain Steven R. Closs (Ret.)
Nashua NH Police Department

March 5, 2021

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