Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Chief of Police Thomas P. Reilly

Sherrill Police Department, New York

End of Watch Saturday, September 13, 1969

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Chief of Police Thomas P. Reilly

Rest in peace and always know that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

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

September 9, 2020

Rest In Peace Brother in Blue. Thank you Hero and your family for your sacrifice and service. Never forgotten.

Officer Mike Robinson (Ret.)
Upland Police Dept. CA

September 13, 2019

Posted on Oneida Daily Dispatch
Sept. 22, 2019

Sunday marks 50th anniversary of fatal police shootings in Sherrill

Sherrill, N.Y. — Sunday marks the 50th year following the tragic incident which led to the deaths of Police Officer Robert A. Mumford and Police Chief Thomas P. Reilly, both were killed in the line of duty in Sherrill.

The tragedy from fifty years ago is the subject of the pilot episode of a docu-series titled, "Blue Legacy: The Stories Behind the Badge." The documentary, currently in production, will include firsthand accounts from victims and witnesses to the 1969 case, along with family members of the deceased officers and others.

At about 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 8, 1969, Martin Fitzpatrick, held up the attendant of Finn’s Gulf Station in Canastota at gunpoint stealing his wallet and the station’s receipts, about $400.

Officials said police were immediately called which resulted in a radio alert by Oneida Police to other police cars in the region, including Sherrill Police about 7 miles away.

At about 9:48 p.m., reports say that Mumford and Reilly stopped a car matching the description of the wanted vehicle and interviewed the driver who denied knowledge of the robbery. It appears that Fitzpatrick was being cooperative and providing some story to the officers, which caused Chief Reilly to doubt that they had stopped the right car, authorities said.

At 9:54 p.m., Reilly radioed to the dispatcher that he thought they had the wrong man, and that Fitzpatrick was being cooperative. But during his interaction with the officers, Fitzpatrick apparently became aware that the Canastota police were bringing the victim to Sherrill to identify him, a procedure known by police as a “show up”. About four minutes later, Fitzpatrick drew a pistol, shot both officers, and sped away in his car.

Chief Reilly was able to reach his police radio and at 9:58 p.m., broadcast that he and Officer Mumford had been shot. Wayne Coston was on duty as the Desk Sergeant at Oneida police headquarters that night and he remembers taking Chief Reilly’s radio call. Coston said, “It’s been fifty years, and I will never get that out of my mind, he said, ‘We’re shot, we’re shot, God help me, please hurry...’” The injured Reilly had also written down Fitzpatrick’s name and license plate number in his police notebook.

Fitzpatrick fled the shooting and drove to Munnsville where he found a darkened home in a remote area. It was just minutes after the shooting in Sherrill when he knocked on the door of the occupant, Marie DiLapi, asking for a glass of water and directions.

DiLapi said, “He wanted to know how to get to Syracuse, and I gave him directions via Route 5, but he didn’t want to go that way.” Mrs. DiLapi was home alone with her two daughters, ages 4 and 6.

After a short conversation, Fitzpatrick forced his way into the home brandishing his handgun. He checked out the home and the bedroom where the two little girls slept. He then told Mrs. DiLapi that she was going to drive him to Syracuse in her car, likely knowing that a large police dragnet would be looking for him in his own car.

After all, he had been stopped once after committing the armed robbery in Canastota, and now he had shot two police officers. Fitzpatrick forced Mrs. DiLapi and her two girls into DiLapi’s car and ordered her to drive back roads to Syracuse.

“When we got near Jamesville I was really scared that he would kill us and dump us over a hillside," she remembered. “But we continued on to Syracuse, where he directed me where to drive until he got out.” Mrs. DiLapi and her girls were finally free. She drove around until she was able to alert someone to call police.

Mrs. DiLapi’s information would turn out to be a critical clue in the investigation and manhunt for Fitzpatrick as the search was previously focused toward the areas east of Sherrill, rather than west toward Syracuse.

Deputy Fran Broski worked for the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office at the time and was on duty that evening back in 1963. “I was in Vernon when the call came in that there were two Sherrill police officers down. I drove to the scene and found that the ambulances were loading Bob and Tom to get them to the hospital.”

Additional police vehicles arrived on scene and Broski took off in the direction pointed out by witnesses to search for the suspect.

“I started searching Route 5 and went all the way to Kirkville, and then I checked side roads looking for the car.” A civilian witness, John Orr, was across the street at a gas station he owned, when the officers were shot. Orr’s stepson, Bruce Rochester, remembered the night.

“I was talking with my step-dad out in front of the gas station and we had seen that the police had a car stopped. All of a sudden we heard gunshots, and my step-dad instinctively took off after the fleeing car.” Rochester described his father as a hard-charger, former military and a sitting justice of the peace for nearby Vernon. “But my stepfather was driving a Chevy Blazer K5 and couldn’t keep up with him.”

The harrowing night of September 8, 1969, is still remembered to this day by many in Sherrill. A park has since been named in honor of the fallen officers, Reilly-Mumford Park, where various community events are held throughout the year.

A monument at the park commemorates their service and sacrifice. We remember the heroism of not only the police officers, but also two civilians who found themselves in danger: a young mom kidnapped at gunpoint thinking on her feet and trying to make sure she can get her daughters to safety; and the gas station owner and justice of the peace who tore after a suspect knowing that the man had just shot at police.

Retired Police Officer

September 8, 2019

I remember Chief Reilly very well. As a child, my friends and I would play in our back yard that was adjacent to the road. We would often see him drive by in his patrol car and we all would shout out "Reilly" and wave. He always reached his arm out the window and waved back to us and shouted "Hi" back to us with a big smile on his face.

That is the Chief Reilly, I remember and I will never forget him.

Born and raised in Sherrill.

January 8, 2016

I was almost 13 when this happened but remember it like it was yesterday. Seeing the "X" in the middle of Route 5 & Sherrill Road is what I most remember. My parents remember even though they are both 80. Sad, sad time in Sherrill NY.

S. Wright

September 9, 2014

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 44th anniversary year of your death. I am priviliged to be among the first to leave a tribute to you. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

May 11, 2013

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

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

September 13, 2012

I said a little prayer today for Chief Reilly and his family. He may be gone but never forgotten. He will always be a New York HERO.

Robyn Wilkes

September 4, 2009

Tom Reilly was one of the finest men I have ever known, he was my fether in law, but more than that he was a good friend.

security officer Thomas T.Kenyon

March 11, 2008

He was part of a great family. It hurt when I heard of it and I've thought about Val and her Mumsie often. I hope all is well now.

Glen Bond
Shared in Thanksgiving, 1967

February 19, 2008

I lived in the Central New York area when this terrible tragedy occurred. As I prepare to retire after 32 years in law enforcement, I continue to be amnazed at the honorable people who go out on patrol each day of the year. Chief Reilly was one of those who set the high standards of service that we must always strive to achieve. May you continue to rest in the peace that you truly deserve. Your sacrifice will always be honored by your family in blue. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Lt. Jim Keenan
Rochester, NY PD

September 28, 2007


A year has passed since NHPD lost an officer. Just thinking of you too. Rest in peace, brother.

Fellow Cop

February 26, 2007

Dad, I just wanted to let you know that your legacy of courage and love has been received and appreciated. You died protecting the lives of the people and the town you loved. No one could ask for more. Rest now in peace. Maryanne

April 8, 2006

Chief Reilly, my daughters and I are thinking of you as news of a fallen officer in our neighboring city of New Hartford has brought back all the heartbreak of your passing. We often think of you and your family members and offer our love for those remaining, especially Val, a very dear friend.


March 1, 2006

Chief Reilly,
On today, the 36th anniversary of your murder, I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Sherrill.


September 13, 2005

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