Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Joseph John McGarry

Myrtle Beach Police Department, South Carolina

End of Watch Sunday, December 29, 2002

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Police Officer Joseph John McGarry

Joe took me under his wing when I worked at the MBPD. He was a great guy to me and my wife. We miss Joe and speak of him often. I would always bust his chops about the Red Sox since I was from Jersey and a Yankees fan. Miss you brother more than you know. 324 to 263 where ya at?

P.O. Rob Chenoweth
Little Silver P.D. (NJ)

January 2, 2020

Myrtle Beach Officer Joe McGarry killed 17 years ago Sunday

Posted: Dec 29, 2019 WBTW NEWS

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A Myrtle Beach police officer died in the line of duty 17 years ago Sunday.

The city posted a tribute on their Facebook to Officer Joe McGarry, who died Dec. 29, 2002.

Police say McGarry along with other officers were investigating a suspicious person just after midnight Dec. 29. That’s when they say a man pulled a .45 caliber handgun and shot Officer McGarry in the head.

Luzenski Allen Cottrell was later arrested, convicted of murder and sentenced to death in April 2005, but the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2008 because the jury was not allowed to consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

A second trial for Cottrell in September 2014 ended the same as the first as a jury of 12 convicted the gunman of murdering Officer McGarry and sentenced the killer to death.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” the city wrote online. “We remember Myrtle Beach Police Officer First Class Joseph McGarry, who was killed in the line of duty on this date: December 29, 2002.”

Retired Police Officer

December 30, 2019

Rest in peace Officer McGarry.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

May 5, 2019

I miss you so much and I love you so much. I think about you everyday and it breaks my heart everyday that you had to make the ultimate sacrifice. You had such a big heart and I think of you every time I see my kids or pray,hoping that your looking down at me with your laugh and smile knowing that I do my best, and when I think of the best, I think of you . I know your in a better place. You made the best of everything and this world is better for it. I get upset and sad that god took you to soon , I know it’s selfish of me but it’s true. I miss playing basketball and all the unconditional time we spent together when I was a kid, no matter what was going on at that moment you put whatever down just to play ball with me because your the best cousin anyone could ask for and you still are . Even as a kid I knew you were special . You made me feel special. When I think of uncle joe I get choked up and scared because when I hear uncle and aunties voice all’s I think of is you and it breaks my heart and I cry,and I know their heart will always be broken because you were the world to them and so many and we all miss you dearly .honestly I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with my emotions as it never gets easier ,only harder and I cry. I cry a lot. A lot of people don’t understand because they never knew you, but if they did they would.Your in my heart always. You paved a path for so many including me to be a better man. I remember when we were at dads award ceremony for getting 3rd place in sailing and you sat across from me and gave me a gold pocket watch with a train on it because as a kid I was obsessed with polar express. I still keep it close by my heart everyday and talk with my kids about you at least once a day and how unconditional you were with the brightest smile in the room,and I know you look after not going to lie , it’s still as hard to not cry as it was when dad first called me to tell me the news as we both of broke down crying like babies not wanting to believe what I was hearing and what he was saying.I know he misses you so much too. I went on to get my criminal justice degree to help others and you played a giant role in that besides wanting to help others,and I’m lucky if I’m half the man you were as I’ve made so many mistakes yet I’m still here knowing that you were looking out for me. You had to have been, it’s the only logical explanation that allows me to follow my dreams and turn them into reality. My life’s not perfect and still a long scary journey,but just the thought of you and still hearing your laugh in my head makes it better. I cry so much but I know your in a better place. It really never gets easier. You have made so many lives better from the love you shared from your soul and your heart as it was enormous. I wish we had more time together. It’s so hard for so many including myself . The love you had was contagious and I consider myself lucky for the time we had before god took you home .i love you Joey and one day I’ll see you again, and when I do I will hug you and never let go.i know you look after my twin sons and I’m grateful.i still find it hard to muster up courage for many things.. i hope to see uncle joe one day in South Carolina and to take my kids and show them how awesome you were and why it’s so important to never forget .I’ll never forget how good you were to me and the unconditional love you had. I get choked up typing this but only because my heart breaks like it did the very first time.ill always remeber how you had auntie and uncle’s voice saying “hey little Wayne .” Thank you for never judging but always staying loving and taking the time regardless of knowing my childhood was rough but always making it better .Your the best cousin I could have asked for and truly blessed . Keep playing ball Joey, and one day we will play together again.
Love always and forever ,
Your cousin,
Little Wayne

Wayne Joseph Miguel

December 25, 2018

Joe we think about you all the time...


January 20, 2018

It is that time of year when your memory is most vivid to me. I remember it all. I must. I am a witness to an event that will never be forgotten. I am guarded with my memory from that night and do not readily share it with anyone. Today, I listened once again to Taps given in your honor on The Ken Hamblin Show. You are remembered friend.

One Sheepdog

December 15, 2016

Joe, Today I send another 8 new officers out into the city. I speak about in each class so that they can learn from you and to keep your memory alive. I know you will look out for them.


December 10, 2015

Little Brother
I miss you daily and miss how you could always bring a smile to my face. I know you are in Heaven watching over us all. You are my hero, brave and true; and what I wish I could be--the most honorable of men. I miss your counsel and hope I haven't squandered my time here on the planet you loved so dearly. I am honored to be your brother, and blessed to have been touched by your life. I hope and pray God allows me to see you again.

Pfc Ben Rhodes
Myrtle Beach Police Street Crimes Team

November 25, 2015

I met a friend of yours today. It never ceases to amaze me how many people you touched. You are remembered often, as are your parents. You always bring a smile to our faces. God bless all those you loved and protected.

Beth Edwards
Mom of Jessica Edwards

September 1, 2015

For some reason Joe, I thought of you today.. I never knew you but my ex did. He talked about you often and how much he missed. I hope you are at peace and GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!


April 8, 2015

Not a day goes by that I don't think about you.

P/O Steven Cabral (retired)
Baltimore Police

December 28, 2014

Not sure if anyone reads these anymore or not. It doesn't matter tho. I worked in retail at a Big & Tall shop in the Waccamaw Pottery years ago. Joe walked in on a quiet evening. We started talking and just kept talking and talking. I remember him telling me he was from RI, and only child and his mother was completely broken hearted that he her only child, had moved so far away. He told me of his plans to go to the Police Academy in Columbia and he was so excited. That was the only time I had ever met Joe and even th it was the only time I thought of him now and then wondering how he was doing and how his parents, especially his mom were doing. He was such a sweet guy.
When I heard of a police office being killed and then I heard the name I prayed it wasn't him. Maybe I had gotten his name wrong. When I heard he was from RI I knew. I felt so deeply saddened for his parents, especially his mother. I am a mom and I couldn't imagine, Especially an only child. He was a special man. I felt God sent him to me that evening for a reason. I also feel that he was taken away for a reason. Maybe he was too good of a person to be here on this crazy earth. He was needed in heaven. I know he is missed terribly by his friends, family and fiance.
Like some of the others have mentioned. Until we meet again. You were a special person here on earth and I am sure you are a special angel in heaven.
Will always keep you in my thoughts.....


September 27, 2014

Joe I can't believe that it has been 11 years since we said good bye to you! I think of you and smile- remembering our gym times at Salve! You were a great friend and you will always be thought of and missed! You will forever hold a special place in my heart!

kim tibor- pine
college friend

December 29, 2013


Although I have never met you, I still remember this night. Just shy of ten years old, I was the daughter of a Myrtle Beach firefighter and North Myrtle Beach cop. I remember feeling scared every time my dad went to work. I feared that he would never come home that night. And then I saw that dreaded news article; officer shot and killed. I will never forget hearing that story. I never could understand why someone would hurt somebody who is just trying to protect us little people. Why does this happen more often than it should?

Well, Joe, I am now just shy of 21 years old and work as a cadet at the MBPD (hopefully soon I will be able to become a LEO with MBPD). You're honored and loved by every single person in that department, even those who have never had the honor of meeting you. I want to thank you for everything you've done for the citizens of this town, and thank you for sacrificing your life (unfortunately) for putting a horrible man in jail. I really do wish you were still here; I would've loved to work along side you and learn from you. We all love you and miss you. Please keep watching over all of us. Not a day goes by that we don't see your face and think about what a wonderful man you were. Rest in peace, and God bless you and your family.

Cadet Amber Summers

December 29, 2013

I often remember that night vividly. As I sat in my cruiser on 501 as Gut called out shots fired over radio. Glad I was a part of capturing your killer but still doesn't take pain away of you being taken away early. I am no longer a police officer as I am now retired. You are missed each day and for most of the MBPD family who are still around (very few)that remember that night may god bless each.....the younger guys and girls employed by the city now carry your torch.....protect the ones that protect everybody else.....

Retired MBPD Platt

December 29, 2013

Gone, but not forgotten.
Some times there is justice and at other times, just us.

Sgt. T. J. Jones
Greater Cleveland Transit Police Department, Ohio

December 29, 2013

I'll never forget the feeling I had when I got the phone call about this tragedy 11 years ago. My heart ached for everyone there and his family. This world lost an amazing officer and role model for both the community and other officers. I may police over 750 miles away now but I still think of Joe when I hit the streets. RIP brother. Gone but never forgotten. Walk the streets of heaven with honor, you earned it.

Endicott Police

December 29, 2013

May God hold you in His hands,and until we meet again My only nephew (I hardly knew Ye!)

DS2 Bernie McGarry
Uncle Bernie

July 17, 2013

Not a day goes by that I don't think about that night and what could have done different. Miss you

Sgt. Gut

July 2, 2013

Joe, I'll never forget the night the call came out; "Myrtle Beach PD needs assistance, Officer down"! Thanks for your service. Rest in peace.

Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

Captain Lance A Winburn
Horry County Police Department

May 6, 2013

Joe, I will never forget you or this day. I dont have much to say today but you are today and everyday in my thoughts.

P/O Steven Cabral
Baltimore City Police

December 29, 2012

Well, today has been ten years since you were taken from your family, friends, and everyone you touched along the way. Even after ten years, I find it difficult to think about my first year in police work. You taught me many valuable aspects of policing and life during the short time I knew you as a friend and many times as a partner on calls. I can honestly state, each day I put on my uniform I think about you, and know you watch over your brothers and sisters that continue to work the streets. I will always respect the knowledge you provided me and others, which I am sure it’s officers like yourself that pushed others to become true role models and leaders in life and the profession we chose. Your legacy as a person and police officer go much further than Myrtle Beach, SC and is seen through the wonderful posts on this sight. There was never a person to say a negative thing about Joey McGarry and I hope I truly have half the legacy left behind when my turn comes to join you. Thanks for everything you did and still do through your spirit and memories. Rest in peace brother; we will all join you soon enough in peace and eternal happiness.

Sergeant Michael M. Straube
Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (TN)

December 29, 2012



December 13, 2012

Joe you are a true friend to Tracy and I, it's hard to believe you've been up there watching over us for the last ten years. Wishing you were still down here sharing in our lives. We miss ya brother!

John Agro

December 3, 2012

Althoug having never met or worked with PO McGarry just being here in Myrtle Beach for vacation I can't help but think of the sacrifice he made.

RET PO Greg Durand
NYPD/FSD Support Services Bureau

July 14, 2012

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