Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc. — Paul DiGiacomo, President

The DEA Honor Roll

Official Line of Duty Deaths

Erle M. Thompson

Rank: Detective

Shield Number: 1316

Command: 114 Detective Squad

Date of Death: 02/20/1971

Cause of Death: Shot while responding to domestic dispute.

Det. Erle M. Thompson was shot and killed on February 20, 1971, when he responded to his sister Vicky’s home in Queens while he was technically off-duty. She had called him to say that she and her husband Mark were arguing, and when Thompson arrived, his brother in law was attempting to leave with their child. The official police report said that while attempting to ensure his sister’s safety, Det. Thompson was met with a bullet in the chest from his 21-year-old brother-in-law’s .38 caliber Smith & Wesson.

Det. Thompson was 34 years old, and had served the Department for ten years. He began his career as a mail clerk, and then joined the NYPD on December 27, 1960. His first assignment was the fabled Tactical Patrol Force (TPF), and at the time of his death, he was on the Taxi and Truck Unit of the 114 Detective Squad. He was one of ten NYPD Officers killed in the line of duty in the particularly dangerous and deadly year of 1971.

As one of his colleagues wrote 50 years later: “You were a husband, a father, a son, a friend, but above all, a Hero, my Hero. You were loved by all who knew you.”

He was survived by a wife, their two daughters, and other family members and colleagues who still grieve the loss.

Read the New York Times article, “The New York Ten,” about the year’s NYPD line of duty deaths, published December 12, 1971.

The New York Ten NY Times 12-12-1971

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