Sergeant Michael F. McNeil, Jr., #65

1928 - 1971
Albany Police Department
Division II
Gunshot Wounds

On Monday 11-29-1971 at 12:30 AM, while driving a Central Booking matron home after her shift, Sgt. McNeil stopped a car with four occupants for running a red light at Central Avenue and Robin Street, city of Albany NY. The vehicle matched a description of a sedan used in an armed robbery earlier in the night in the bordering town of Colonie. After noticing a registration discrepancy, McNeil ordered the driver to follow him to Division I. At the police station, the driver gave a false name. McNeil then went outside to question the other passengers, who had remained sitting in the suspect vehicle, but they had fled on foot. McNeil called for back-up and began driving the area looking for them. At 1:20 AM he found them walking on West Lawrence Street near Chestnut Street. McNeil ordered the male, Joseph W. Guerin, 23, of Bridgeport CT, into the back seat of the prowl car. As the officer entered the front driver's seat, Guerin, a member of the outlawed motorcycle gang The Breed, shot the officer twice, in the right temple and right cheek, with a .9-mm luger, killing him instantly. Guerin then fled on foot to 41 North Main Street where he woke the residents and told them he was in a bad accident and asked one of them to drive him to the hospital. The 19-year old son complied and once away from the house Guerin stole the vehicle from him at gun point. He abandoned the car a short distance away, at Central Avenue and Colvin, and hailed a cab to Schenectady. Guerin was finally captured at 5:40 AM at 1138 State Street, Schenectady NY. As detectives booked Guerin, others officers were attending the funeral services for Officer Edward Stevens who had been shot and killed 70 hours earlier by an emotionally disturbed person. Guerin is now serving 25 to life in Eastern Correctional Facility, Ulster County NY. He was denied parole in 1996 and 1998, but is again eligible in 2000. He recently took a plea bargain for the 1971 Connecticut murder charge, a case in which Albany Detective T. Carroll was instrumental in collecting and assisting CT prosecutors years after the crime occurred.

Guerin was out on $50,000 bail awaiting sentencing for a Connecticut assault when he killed Sgt. McNeil. He was also wanted for a separate murder in that state as well. In 1971 when McNeil was killed, his brother Roderick was also an Albany officer assigned to the Traffic Unit. Today, McNeil's nephew, Detective William Murphy Jr., is assigned to the Special Investigations Unit.

Sgt. McNeil was a 14-year police veteran, sworn in on 9-5-1957, and lived at 212 Ontario Street. Survivors included his widow, Margaret Reaney McNeil; three sons, Vincent M. (now employed by the Albany Parks Dept.), Kevin P. (now an Albany Fire Fighter), and Brenden (now a salesman); daughter, Noreen (now a Massachusetts lawyer); parents, Michael F. Sr. and Mary Boutelier McNeil; two brothers, Roderick D. (the police officer), and Joseph J.; and sister, the late Helen McNeil. The funeral was from Magin & Keegan Funeral Home to Saint Vincent DePaul's Church, Madison Avenue, Albany.