By Dale Yeager
Among other heroes, one was killed by a load of timber, another was thrown from his horse and struck by car, and still another died trying to save a drowning girl’s life.
At a Police Headquarters ceremony Wednesday, the NYPD is finally honoring 18 previously unheralded officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Most of the officers being saluted died before 1922 and the deaths date as far back as 1869.
The most recent is William Martin, who in April 2011 succumbed to injuries suffered 30 years earlier when he was assaulted in a Lower East Side subway station.
“The family went through 30 years of living hell,” Martin’s son, Richard, 60, told The Post. “I think he deserves the honor. I think he was kind of very overlooked.”
The names of the cops — chosen by an NYPD committee of department chiefs — will be added to a memorial wall at One Police Plaza.
“These were officers who were killed in unusual circumstances: off duty, shot by another officer accidentally or killed by accidents,” a high-ranking police source explained. “They would have been added by today’s standards, but not back then.”
Died April 9, 2011
Modal TriggerIt was April 20, 1981, when Martin, a transit cop working the night shift, was attacked by a homeless man in a Lower East Side subway station.
The assailant, who was sleeping when Martin tried to wake him up, grabbed the officer’s nightstick and beat him on the head.
“We got the call in the middle of the night. We had to drive in to Manhattan and just knew he was injured,” Richard Martin, of upstate Port Jervis, told The Post.
“The vagrant later said he thought my dad was dead and that’s why he didn’t take his gun and shoot him.”
What followed were three decades of medical treatment, including brain and stomach surgeries. William died in 2011 as a direct result of his injuries.
“He was in a coma for a couple months. He was brain-injured. It took many years before he could even walk,” said Richard, who will attend Wednesday’s ceremony with his brother and sister.
“He got hurt in 1981 and he spent seven years in Bellevue and 10 years in a nursing home and the rest of his life with 24-hour-a-day nursing,” Richard said.
Died June 26, 1976
Modal TriggerTransit Detective Caccavale, 33, was working an off-duty security job at a check-cashing business in Long Island City when three armed robbers stormed in.
He tried to fire at them with his service weapons but was gunned down.
Caccavale left behind a wife and two children, including Carla Caccavale Reynolds, just 20 days old when her dad died.
“I’m emotional just thinking about it,” Carla told The Post of the ceremony, which she will attend with her four children.
“It was something that would mean a lot to my mom, and it’s really special to me as well. He deserves this. He died a hero and he deserves to be memorialized.”
She added that her dad was “truly a friend to all.”
Carla said her father’s slaying wasn’t initially recorded as an on-duty death, but that changed when it was determined that he had taken police action during the robbery.
“This is huge,” she said of her dad’s plaque at One Police Plaza.
Gustave August Boettger Jr.
Died July 13, 1922
Modal TriggerThis traffic cop wouldn’t give up.
In 1910, Boettger Jr. was on mounted patrol when a horse pulling a wagon lost control and tried to gallop away.
Boettger followed the horse and wagon, still carrying a rider, down Fulton Street, at one point taking hold of the beast by the bridle.
Just then, a vehicle drove directly into the runaway horse’s path, and Boettger fell off his own horse and was dragged for half a block. He was then struck by another vehicle and suffered a skull fracture.
But despite his wounds, Boettger didn’t give up.
He got up and mounted his horse again, this time joining forces with another cop who managed to capture the beast.
Boettger immediately fell to the ground and was taken to the Hospital, where he made only a partial recovery. Twelve years later, he died from the fracture.
Died Aug. 10, 1869
It was a freak ferry-yard accident.
Branagan, 42, was helping a horse-drawn lumber truck back out of the old Hamilton Ferry yard when one of the horses suddenly swerved in another direction, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which provides information on nearly every slain US police officer.
A load of lumber fell from the truck and hit Branagan, who was severely injured. The 12-year NYPD veteran died soon after.
Died Oct. 4, 1901
Modal TriggerHoey, 37, was walking in Central Park on East Drive near 87th Street with his horse when a car horn spooked the animal.
The horse bolted, throwing Hoey, who had earlier earned a medal for bravery, in front of the vehicle, which hit the officer.
Hoey died the next day at Presbyterian Hospital.
William H. Galbraith
Died Nov. 8, 1911
Galbraith was on routine patrol when he was thrown from his horse at Walton Avenue and Mt. Hope Place.
He suffered a skull fracture and died nine days later at Fordham Hospital, leaving behind a wife and two children.
Died Nov. 4, 1902
A massive election-night fireworks explosion left a dozen people dead and scores more injured — including Shea, who was on patrol in Madison Square Park when he was struck by a large chunk of metal. He suffered a skull fracture and died at age 34.
Lt. Daniel C. O’Connor
Died March 14, 1974
Modal TriggerO’Connor, a 19-year veteran, was in a patrol car sitting on the FDR Drive near the Brooklyn Bridge tending to an emergency when another vehicle crashed into his.
The lieutenant hit his head on the door and was thrown from squad car. Despite shoulder and stomach pain, O’Connor returned to work a week later — but doctors soon confirmed he had suffered internal injuries.
Surgery failed and he died two months later.
Detective Charles Cameron
Died July 17, 1904
It was a case of friendly fire.
Cameron was in plainclothes patrolling a picnic area at a park when a brawl broke out between unruly revelers and musicians on a break.
The detective was attacked by several people in the crowd, at which point he fired two rounds, hitting one of the assailants.
Cameron, 49, then escaped from a mob by crawling under a stage. When a uniformed officer showed up, he was told a gunman was lurking under the stage, so he crawled under the platform and ordered Cameron to get out.
Cameron didn’t respond, so the officer fired a round into the dark, fatally striking the 16-year veteran of the force.
Died Sept. 18, 1921
Rockaway Beach, Queens
Modal TriggerHe was trying to save a young swimmer’s life.
Maloney was off duty and taking a dip in the ocean when a young girl swimming nearby screamed for help.
The 27-year-old officer rushed into action, swimming some 200 yards as he desperately tried to reach the drowning girl.
But the officer, who had been wounded as a soldier in World War I, disappeared during the rescue attempt, and his body later washed ashore. The girl was rescued by other beachgoers.
George M. Yeager
Died July 3, 1905
A misstep cost a patrolman his life.
Yeager, 49, was on routine foot patrol downtown when he went to check a report of a fire in a building on Washington Street.
While searching with a watchman to make sure no one was trapped, heavy smoke forced the would-be rescuers back out.
They broke a window and climbed out onto the building’s wooden awning. But then Yeager stepped on a skylight, tumbling down to the street below.
The patrolman was taken to the Hudson Street Hospital — and died from a skull fracture 10 days later.
Died Feb. 7, 1907
He died saving others’ lives.
Gallagher, a member of the Brooklyn Traffic Squad, was working at Myrtle and Fulton Avenues when a horse-drawn fire engine came barreling toward the intersection.
At the same time, several commuters were transferring street from one streetcar to another — and didn’t see the fire engine — and the intrepid cop rushed to push them out of its path.
But the horses then swerved in his direction, knocking him down.
His legs were crushed by the wagon’s wheels — and doctors at Brooklyn Hospital were forced to amputate a limb.
Gallager, 46, became seriously ill and died six months later.
Gerard Apuzzi Jr.
Died May 4, 1968
Apuzzi, a member of the 107th Precinct, died from carbon-monoxide poisoning in his patrol car.
The 15-year veteran of the force was 42.
Died Nov. 15, 1908
Berberich was standing watch by a downed electrical wire on East Seventh Street when he helped a woman and her two kids walk around the danger.
But tragically the 11-year NYPD veteran came in contact with the live wire and was electrocuted. He died at age 40.
John W. McCormick
Died July 9, 1910
He was on a suburban assignment.
McCormick, a member of what was then the NYC Comptroller’s Squad, had just helped deliver money to city workers toiling away on a water-supply aqueduct in the Catskill Mountains when he got into a car accident on his way back to the city.
His vehicle flipped over near Tarrytown, and he was thrown from the vehicle. McCormick, an officer for 34 years, died from critical injuries.
Died Sept. 24, 1915
Modal TriggerHe was killed in the midst of a politically charged scuffle.
Dapping, 26, was off duty at a picnic hosted by some local politicos at the old Manhattan Casino on 155th Street when a brawl broke out late at night between rowdy members of rival political groups.
Someone in the crowd fired multiple shots, prompting Dapping and another officer to rush in and try to arrest the gunman.
Dapping took a bullet and was killed, while the other off-duty cop was wounded. The gunman was later convicted of murder and put to death on Oct. 7, 1916.
Bryan L. O’Donnell
Died June 11, 1916
Modal TriggerO’Donnell ditched his post at a police booth at 74th Street in Bay Ridge when a janitor at the nearby Bay Ridge HS informed him several young men had tried to crash a dance party.
He went over to the school and found the troublemakers, who immediately fled.
In hot pursuit of the suspects, O’Donnell climbed a fence — but lost his footing about 12 feet above the ground and fell.
O’Donnell, who was assigned to the 71st Precinct, died from a skull fracture.
Sgt. Thomas F.X. O’Grady
Died Aug. 24, 1916
Modal TriggerO’Grady was responding to a report of a stabbing in Dexter Park when his horse, Bismarck, slipped and took a tumble on some cobblestones.
The sergeant fell from the horse — and his steed landed on top of him, fracturing his skull. Four days later, O’Grady died at St. Mary’s Hospital.
from the Dale Yeager Blog https://daleyeagerdotcom.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/nypd-honoring-18-forgotten-cops-who-died-serving-the-city/