Inspector John F. Donahue

Inspector John F. Donahue

Waterbury Police Department, Connecticut

End of Watch Monday, August 2, 1920

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John F. Donahue

Inspector John Donahue succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained six weeks earlier while investigating a complaint from a man that his wife had stolen $650.

The man had filed the complaint with the desk officer and was told to come back in the morning to speak with detectives. When the man returned, he was interviewed by Inspector Donahue, who then located the woman at the train station attempting to leave with her boyfriend.

The man, woman, and boyfriend all returned to the police station, where the woman denied being married to the man. Inspector Donahue requested that the man obtain his marriage certificate and return to the scene. When the man returned, he observed Inspector Donahue interviewing the woman and became enraged. He shot Inspector Donahue with a pistol he had obtained when he went to get the marriage certificate. The suspect then went into an adjoining officer and committed suicide.

Inspector Donahue was taken to St. Mary's Hospital where he died six weeks later.

Inspector Donahue had served with the Waterbury Police Department for 17 years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and three sons.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 17 years

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Tuesday, June 22, 1920
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Committed suicide

police facility

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Inspector Donohue, it has been 97 years since you were taken from us. New England law enforcement has continued to thrive, learn and become safer due to the traditions and sacrifices you, your family, and many others have made for us. Thank you for your law enforcement service.

Chief (Ret) Steven Marshall
Georges Mills, NH

August 3, 2023

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