The DEA Honor Roll
Official Line of Duty Deaths
James S. Maher
Rank: Detective Second Grade
Command: 20 Detective Squad
Date of Death: 07/27/1919
Cause of Death: Shot and Killed in the Line of Duty
Det. James Maher, who was described by The New York Times as, “one of the most faithful men at the West 68 Street stationhouse” and “in line for promotion to First Grade,” was shot in the head and killed in what was an early morning culmination of a complex disturbance between employees of the San Remo Hotel, on Central Park West and 74th Street, on July 27, 1919. A night clerk named Justin Rogers, killed a porter named John McGoldrick, then killed Det. Maher in what might have been a case of mistaken identity, and later shot and killed himself. The proprietor of the hotel, Edmund Brennan, believed the shot aimed at Det. Maher was meant for himself, as Rogers had a grudge with the hotel and vowed to take revenge. Brennan noted that Maher was shot outside his own suite, and noted a “marked resemblance” between himself and the Detective. Maher had been responding to the sound of gunfire from the first shooting of McGoldrick when he was suddenly hit from behind. The killer was discovered dead in the building approximately three hours later by another responding Detective. The shooting spree was a culmination of months of angry dispute between Rogers and McGoldrick over vacation time, and the fact that Brennan sided with McGoldrick in his complaints about Rogers.
Det. Maher had been on the force for ten years and lived with his wife Mary on 3739 Chichester Avenue in Woodhaven, Long Island. His parents were Katherine and the late William Maher. Det. Maher’s funeral was held on July 30, 1919. He was (as was often the custom in that era) waked at his home and then an “automobile cortege” proceeded to St. Thomas’ Church in Woodhaven for his funeral. He was interred at Calvary Cemetery.
You can read the about the hotel dispute which led to the killing of Det. Maher at the article listed below: “Hotel Clerk Kills 2 Men and Himself,” New York Times, July 28, 1919.