Memorial Panel #:
District / Unit:
HBT (Hostage, Barricade, Terrorist Unit)
End of Watch:
5 September 2017
Police Officer Bernie Domagala was a 7 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department and a member of the HBT Unit. Shortly before his shift was over on the afternoon of July 14th 1988, Bernie responded to a hostage situation at 7237 S. Stony Island Avenue where the Cook County Sheriff;s Office was in the process on serving an eviction notice. The respondent was a former Chicago Police Officer named Tommie Lee Hudson. The Sheriff’s Officers and the movers made a forced entry into the residence with a sledgehammer. Upon entry Hudson fired three shots at them with a shotgun from behind an archway in his living room, and one of the movers, Edgar Luna, age 27, was hit in the upper arm. The Officer’s immediately called for backup. Luna, the other movers and the deputies hid beneath the front porch until Chicago Police arrived.
Officers surrounded the property, and Bernie had taken a defensive position at the corner of the garage. He looked around the corner at the house, and in that split second the offender shot his gun hitting Bernie above his eye in the forehead. He was transported to Michael Reese Hospital where he underwent 6 hours of surgery to remove a bullet from his brain. Bernie was 37 years old at the time, with a wife, Denise, and three young sons: Erik was 4, and twins Craig and Adam were 4 months old.
Following the shooting of Officer Domagala the HBT Team fired at least 50 tear gas canisters into the home and finally persuaded Hudson to come out. At 6:55 p.m., Hudson surrendered, came out waving a white flag, and was taken into custody without further incident. Offender Tommie Lee Hudson was charged with several crimes, including attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed violence. A psychiatrist later found Hudson to be mentally ill and he was committed to a state mental health facility. Hudson was later released from the state hospital and eventually relocated to Memphis, TN and then to Houston, TX where he was killed on February 10, 1994.
Bernie never recovered from his injuries and spent the next twenty-nine years in traumatic brain injury care centers, rehab facilities, nursing homes and hospitals. Through it all, and thanks to the constant love and support from Denise, Erik, Craig and Adam, Bernie never lost his smile. Bernie passed away on September 5, 2017 due to complications from injuries sustained in the shooting. Officer Bernard Domagala was laid to rest in St. Casimir Cemetery in Chicago, IL. He is survived by his wife, Denise, and sons Erik, Craig and Adam.