42 Years Ago, Atlantic City, NJ Police Officer Died in Gunfight

A young, brave police officer lost his life on October 14, 1981, during a high-speed car chase and intense gun battle in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

I have a vivid memory of this particular day. At the time, I was just 21 years old and working as a junior executive at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. Interestingly, this establishment was situated in close proximity to where the fatal shootout took place.

It’s been 42 years since Peter Francis Egnor lost his life in the line of duty. At the time, he was only 21 years old. Despite his young age, he showed bravery and dedication to his job until his last breath.

It all began with a tip-off from a sex worker to the Atlantic City Police Officers. She informed them that a man had robbed her a week ago during his visit to the town.

Thomas Warren Kerr from Chicago, Illinois was identified as the perpetrator behind the fatal shooting of Egnor during an armed robbery.

Kerr led the Atlantic City Police Officers on a thrilling car chase after they tried to stop him. The chase continued through the city at a high speed, making for a tense and dangerous situation.

The intense car chase ultimately resulted in the suspect crashing his vehicle. Tragically, Kerr lost his life in the exchange of gunfire.

At the time of his untimely death, Egnor had only served as an Atlantic City Police Officer for 18 months.

I reached out to my twin brother, Don Hurley, who happened to be in the same Atlantic County police training class as Egnor and had a close association with him. I requested Don to express his opinion on Egnor, and here is what he had to say:

Peter Egnor was a courageous young police officer, who died in a gun battle with a dangerous career criminal 42 years ago. His aggressive action saved the lives of his fellow police officers and countless civilians from the violent actions of this criminal. Pete was the best of those the Atlantic City Police Department has ever had to offer. As Jesus said at The Sermon On The Mount: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. May his soul continue to rest in peace.

Peter Egnor was a brave police officer who lost his life in a fierce gunfight with a notorious career criminal four decades ago. His heroic actions not only saved the lives of his fellow officers but also prevented the criminal from causing harm to countless civilians. Pete was a shining example of the best law enforcement officers that the Atlantic City Police Department has ever produced. As Jesus said in The Sermon On The Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Let us pray that Peter’s soul continues to rest in peace.

Billy Burke captured a unique snapshot of Egnor’s graduating class that is not often seen.

A group of individuals consisting of Elton Rascoe, Bob Medley, Fran Calabrese, Charles Stern, Roger Ulland, John Fallon, Bill McMenamin, Pete Egnor, Don Hurley, and Steve Bonanni has come together.

From left to right, the top row consists of…

The names Dennis McGee, Bill Burke, Jim Hipple, Bill Curtis, Sam Thomas, Doug Roberts, Kirk Sutton, and Denny Fox make up this group.

For decades, I have been aware of this class photo, and it is my understanding that this is the first time that each name has been successfully identified.

During our interview, we had the opportunity to speak with Don Tomasello, a retired Atlantic City Detective who shared his insights with us.

“If you haven’t already, please take note:”

At 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2023, The ACPD Officers will convene at the Peter F. Egnor Bridge for a short ceremony to commemorate the life of ACPD Officer Peter Egnor. Officer Egnor tragically lost his life in a gunfight against an armed and dangerous suspect on October 14, 1981. He was merely 21 years old at the time of his passing. The ceremony serves to honor and remember Officer Egnor’s bravery and sacrifice in the line of duty.

The ACPD PBA Local 24 is set to participate in the memorial service by providing a commemorative wreath that will be placed on The Bridge.

“Thank you, Harry,” expressed Don Tomasello with gratitude.

“ACPD Retired.”

On October 14th, 2006, a well-deserved tribute was paid to Peter Francis Egnor as the Albany Avenue Bridge was renamed to The Peter Francis Egnor Memorial Bridge, in honor of his memory.

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