THE BLOG
12/22/2014 10:52 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

50 Years Ago, My NYPD Cousin and Partner Were Fatally Ambushed in Brooklyn

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James Donegan, NYPD

This is not a political post.

This is not a divisive post.

This is not an inflammatory post.

This is a simply a post to show that when a bullet kills a police officer it reverberates, not just in the public sphere, but for generations.

This is my cousin Detective James Donegan, NYPD. He is a cousin three generations removed whose life was snuffed out in 1964, before I was even born, by a bullet in Brookyln.

My cousin and his partner Detective Salvatore Potenza were fatally killed, together, in the line of duty on October 15, 1964 while responding to a domestic violence call. They were ambushed from behind a door.

When my family learned of the recent ambush of NYPD Officers and partners Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn on December 20, 2014 our thoughts and texts instantly turned to our own, late, family member and his partner.

It was 50 years, last month, since their killing and history repeats itself.

Our family has never forgotten James Donegan, just as the Liu and Ramos families will never forget their heroes. Our hearts go out to them on their long road ahead, especially young Jaden Ramos, son of Officer Ramos.

Most likely, though, society and time will forget -- probably pretty quickly and THIS is how history repeats itself.

Do not forget these men.

Do not forget the families behind these badges.