Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Marshal Patrick H. Gunning

Kirkwood Police Department, Missouri

End of Watch Tuesday, October 11, 1898

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Reflections for Marshal Patrick H. Gunning

No passage of time can ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

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

October 11, 2020

Kirkwood Mo. Police solve 120 year old mystery to honor fallen officer

Posted on Feb 22, 2020 KMOV

The Kirkwood Police Department is honoring one of its fallen officers, but this is one you may have never heard of before now. He was killed back in 1898. For decades, the department has been trying to find his family to honor him.

"You can see directly across the street and across Argonne Avenue which at the time was Main Street," said Gary Quint, a retired Kirkwood Police officer as he pointed from the window of the building that houses the department. "There was a building in that vacant space at the time that housed the three small shops where the shooting and the death occurred."

He can still see where the department's first line of duty death happened more than a century ago.

"Marshal Gunning was shot in front of the barber shop and then was able to stagger two doors down where he collapsed into the cigar store and that's where he died," said Quint.

That fateful day was October 11, 1898.

"He was attempting to break up a disturbance, a fight between two individuals. And he was shot and killed in what we would consider in the line of duty," said Kirkwood Public Information Officer Gary Baldridge about Marshal Patrick Gunning.

Gunning was young, newly married, and had no children.

Nearly 100 years later, in the 1990s, Gunning caught the attention of then-Kirkwood Police Captain Diane Scanga at a prayer breakfast.

"He was the first name on the list of officers killed in the line of duty as 'Marshal Patrick Dunning' in 1898. And I thought, 'We should know more about him, this is Kirkwood. We take care of our people,'" said Scanga.

The problem was "Dunning" wasn't actually his name, and over the years, any family link was also lost.

"They used to have council meetings in the saloon, and I guess it was getting long into the night and somehow his name was written into the notes as ‘Dunning,’ instead of ‘Gunning,’ said Scanga.

Once the name was corrected, Scanga started a search for his family, hoping to properly honor him. She scoured newspaper articles and poured over documents for hours at the library.

"We had real active endeavorer 15-20 years ago and came to a very strong dead end," said Baldridge.

Then earlier this year, the department posted on Facebook asking for help locating family of their fallen brother.

"In law enforcement, we're a big family, and it was a part of our history that was missing," said Baldridge when asked why they renewed the search.

That's when avid genealogy hobbyist Sue Johnson saw the post.

"We all came from some place. And it's fun to find out the stories where we came from," said Johnson.

Johnson, who happens to also be a video editor at KMOV, started digging on various websites she frequents for genealogy.

"Once I found his [Dunning's] siblings in local papers down from Cairo, Illinois, it's like wow, maybe," said Johnson.

She eventually followed the trail to Michael Gunning in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She picked up the phone and gave him a call.

"I asked her if she was one of these people trying to help a Nigerian prince out of jail," said Gunning, admitting he thought the call was a scam.

Johnson spelled out the family lineage to Gunning, explaining how he was related to Patrick Gunning, the Kirkwood Police marshal in 1898.

"Descends through Patrick Gunning's brother Michael," said Johnson, making this man Gunning's great-grandnephew.

Not only did Gunning learn of his connection to the fallen officer, Johnson's genealogy discoveries also opened the door to other family members.

"I was always under the assumption I was just about the only one left. So apparently, I’m not," said Gunning, noting it was a good revelation.

"Without her [Johnson's] assistance, without you reaching out to us to make that connection, we were at a dead end, we had no leads to go on," said Baldridge. "Without her professionalism, her hobby, her relentlessness, we would not be where we are today," said Baldridge.

On this day, it was a reunion, between the Gunning family and the Kirkwood Police Department.

"It was surreal," said Baldridge about finally meeting the family of the fallen officer.

Together, they visited the final resting place of Marshal Patrick Gunning to pay their respects.

"It's a sense of closure in that the family knows we care," said Scanga.

"It is gratifying to know people care and took the time to look," said Gunning.

But, the search isn't over just yet. There is still another piece missing from this story - Patrick Gunning's picture.

"I tried," said Scanga. "I've looked at every newspaper article in association with this and all the Kirkwood history I could find and apparently he was just a camera shy kind of guy."

Now that they have a family to honor in his memory, this team is still hoping to uncover a photo, putting a face on this story more than 120 years later.

Retired Police Officer
NYPD

February 22, 2020

Rest in Peace Marshal Gunning.

PO Jeremy Johnson
Kirkwood Police Department

October 11, 2017

Rest in Peace Marshall Gunning. You are not forgotten.

Officer Cliff Kierstead
Kirkwood Police Dept.

October 11, 2016

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

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

April 21, 2013

God Speed Patrick, you are not forgotten. I visit your grave everytime I stop to see my parents grave site.
Det Tim Brand 303

Det Tim Brand
Kirkwood

October 11, 2011

Well Patrick, we just passed your anniversary and I noticed that not many fellow officers have stopped by which isn't surprising. While we served 102 years apart on the same department, you are and always will be a member of the Kirkwood Police Department. I hope that you, Mac, Bill and Tom have met up to share war stories and to take turns watching over the department and everybody on it. God only knows that we all need it. Rest easy Patrick.

Lt. Cliff Pope
Kirkwood - Fellow Officer

January 23, 2010

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 111th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya

Anonymous

October 17, 2009

On the upcoming anniversary of your death, we remember you and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

October 9, 2007

you may be gone but not forgotten.

May 19, 2006

Patrick,
I don't know if we are related but I'm sure there is a connection off of some family tree of ours. Your sacrifice is not forgotten even going on 108 years later.
God Bless you brother.

Detective Richard Gunning
Moorestown Police Dept NJ

April 25, 2006

1898 was quite a long time ago but the service you provided for the Citizens of Kirkwood, and your ultimate sacrifice, will never be forgotten. We remember you and your family with prayer. Thank you Sir.

Citizen Grace

October 11, 2005

Rest in peace.

PO Timothy Tumbrink
Saint Louis Police Department

July 6, 2005

No fallen officer should be without a reflection. I am honored to be the first to leave one here for you. Thank you for your brave service. Rest in peace.

A citizen

October 11, 2004

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