Patrolman Bernard W. Domagala | Star #8996
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Patrolman Bernard W. Domagala, Star #8996, aged 66 years, was a 32 year, 8 month, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Operational Services – Patrol Division, Special Functions Group: Unit 710 – Gang Crimes Unit South and was a member of the Hostage, Barricade and Terrorist (HBT) Unit.
On July 14, 1988, at approximately 11:00 a.m., the Cook County Sheriff’s Office was in the process of serving an eviction notice. The respondent was a former Chicago Police Officer named Tommie Lee Hudson, age 46, at 7237 South Stony Island Avenue. The Sheriff’s Officers and the movers made a forced entry into the residence with a sledgehammer. Upon entry Hudson fired three shots at them with a shotgun from behind an archway in his living room, and one of the movers, Edgar Luna, age 27, was hit in the upper arm. The Officer’s immediately called for backup. Luna, the other movers and the deputies hid beneath the front porch until Chicago Police arrived.
Officer Domagala was on duty shortly before his shift was over. As a member of the HBT Team, he responded to the hostage / barricade situation. Responding officers surrounded the property. Officer Domagala was assigned to the rear containment behind a garage located east of the home, where he took up a defensive position. With the house surrounded, officers tried to communicate with Hudson with bullhorns because he had no phone. Hudson rarely responded to officers. Shortly before 5:00 p.m., Officer Domagala peeked around the corner of the garage looking towards the house approximately 100 feet away. As his head peeked around the corner a round shot round struck him in the head. Hudson had fired his replica of a Civil War cap-and-ball revolver from a rear kitchen window just as Officer Domagala peeked around the corner. The ball struck Officer Domagala in the forehead, passed through the right side of his brain, then came to rest near his right ear. He was transported to Michael Reese Hospital where he underwent six hours of surgery to remove the ball from his brain. In a statement made by Commander Richard Dwyer, of the 21st District – Prairie, Domagala was able to talk to paramedics on the way to the hospital and did not pass out until he was medicated. Edgar Luna was taken to Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center was treated and released.
Following the shooting of Officer Domagala the HBT Team fired at least 50 tear gas canisters into the home and finally persuaded Hudson to come out. At 6:55 p.m., Hudson surrendered, came out waving a white flag, and was taken into custody without further incident. Several registered firearms, a cap-and-ball revolver, shotgun, two-shot .22 Magnum Derringer pistol and an air rifle were recovered from Hudson’s home. In addition a hunting bow and three homemade black powder bombs were also recovered.
Hudson was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer. On December 10, 1990, minutes before a jury was to be picked for his trial, Hudson was declared incompetent to stand trial. Cook County Criminal Court Judge James Bailey ordered Hudson committed to the Illinois Department of Mental Health for up to a year for evaluation and treatment. Hudson was later released from the state hospital and eventually relocated to Memphis, TN and then to Houston, TX where he was killed on February 10, 1994. He is buried in West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery located at 4000 Forest Hill-Irene Road, Memphis, Tennessee.
Hudson was a police officer from 1966 until February 15, 1971, when he resigned after a medical disability leave. Relatives of Hudson at the time said he had suffered from mental problems for years but they couldn`t get him help from authorities and gave up in frustration. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam but was never deployed and according to family. According to the Veterans Administration, Hudson bought his home, a two-story brick row house, with a VA insured mortgage but stopped paying in August, 1984. “The VA tried to help him keep his home, but it just became impossible to do,” said Art Selikoff, a spokesman for the VA. According to the Cook County Sheriff`s Office, the VA foreclosed on the home in 1985, and sheriff’s deputies evicted Hudson on October 15, 1986. In April, 1987, however, the VA complained in court that Hudson had moved back into the home.
Officer Domagala was 37 years old at the time of the incident, would enter the Disability Pension Roll (DPR) on October 12, 1989 and later resign from the Department on February 6, 2014. He survived the round shot but would suffer from years of traumatic brain injury complications, surgeries and therapies. Every day of his life continued to be a new challenge. For the past several years of his life Officer Domagala had been living in a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center in Southern Illinois. Officer Domagala passed away on September 5, 2017 at Kindred Lakeshore Hospital in Edgewater, from complications resulting from his line of duty injury. On September 7, 2017, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a homicide.
Officer Domagala was waked at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home located at 4727 West 103rd Street, Oak Lawn, Illinois. His funeral mass was held at Queen of Martyrs Church located at 10233 South Central Park, Evergreen Park, Illinois. He was laid to rest on September 11, 2017 in St. Casimir Cemetery, 4401 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Section 34, Lot 438.
Patrolman Bernard W. Domagala, born on February 6, 1951, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 18, 1981 and was in Recruit Class 81-3B at the Jackson Street Police Academy. He earned 1 Blue Star Award, 1 Department Commendation, 1 Unit Meritorious Performance Award, 13 Honorable Mentions and 5 Complimentary Letters during his career. Officer Domagala was also an honoree for the Carter Harrison Medal in 1989.
Patrolman Domagala was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his wife, Denise K. and children: Adam, Craig and Erik. He was preceded in death by his parents.
One of the Sheriff’s Deputies that fateful day was John C. Knight. Knight would later join the Chicago Police Department on December 26, 1989. On January 9, 1999, Officer Knight was shot and killed in the line of duty while conducting a traffic stop.
On July 17, 2018, Officer Domagala’s star was retired by Superintendent of Police Eddie T. Johnson and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.