Detective Cornelius J. McCarthy

Detective Cornelius J. McCarthy

Des Moines Police Department, Iowa

End of Watch Saturday, September 27, 1919

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Cornelius J. McCarthy

Detective Cornelius McCarthy was shot and killed after arresting a burglar. He was working undercover with a local milkman investigating a series of burglaries. The burglar was entering houses while the milkman was making deliveries, using the noise as cover. The delivery driver pointed out a suspicious man and identified him as a possible burglar. Detective McCarthy, dressed in overalls, arrested the man and called for a patrol wagon to take him to jail.

While they were waiting the suspect asked to sit down on the curb. He sat down long enough to pull a .32 caliber pistol from his shoe and shot Detective McCarthy in the chest. He then began firing at the patrol wagon which was pulling up. The suspect was arrested and sentenced to life in prison, where he later died.

Detective McCarthy had served with the Des Moins Police Department for eight years. He was survived by his wife and seven children, ages seven to 15.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 8 years
  • Badge 14

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .32 caliber
  • Offender Died in prison

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Rest in peace Detective McCarthy.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

September 27, 2022

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