First New York City Cop Killed In Iraq
Courtesy of WABC 7
(New York -WABC, August 3, 2005) -- In Iraq - the first NYPD officer to die serving in the war. James McNaughton was shot and killed while guarding prisoners outside of Baghdad.
He's one of 23 Americans who've died in Iraq in the last two days. Earlier today a roadside bomb killed 14 Marines just outside Haditha, seven more died there yesterday.
A freelance journalist from New York was also found shot to death in Basra.
Our coverage starts with N.J. Burkett live from Centereach on Long Island.
The war in Iraq came home today for an entire family of new York City police officers. They received condolences this afternoon from the mayor of New York City and Governor Pataki for the first New York City police officer to be killed in action in Iraq.
From 6,000 miles away to a doorstep in Centereach Long Island the news was unbearable. James McNaughton was 27-years-old, a New York City police officer in the Army Reserve - shot in the head by an Iraqi sniper.
Brian Kenny, Fellow Police Officer: "We had spoken to him, the guys on the midnights in particular - some of the guys that were in the military said 'that's the most dangerous place in the world right now' and Jimmy was all gung-ho military ready to go protect the American way of life."
Staff Sergeant James McNaughton was stationed at an Army outpost near Baghdad known as Camp Victory - a military policeman assigned to the 306th MP battalion at Fort Totten. He joined the NYPD back in 2000 and like his father William McNaughton, he worked in the transit division.
Mayor Bloomberg said today that he died in the line of duty: "He comes from a family dedicated to protecting our city and protecting the freedoms we enjoy every day."
James McNaughton is the first New York City police officer to be killed in Iraq. last year Christian Engeldrum was the first New York City firefighter to die there. Ralph Vitiello knew them both. He's a New York City firefighter who served in Iraq and was also James McNaughton's next door neighbor.
Ralph Vitiello, Neighbor: "When I was over there we were preparing ourselves to go after an army, some guerilla stuff but not like they're doing today. It's just - I can't imagine what it's like for them over there, especially being an MP. It's a sad day, I really feel bad for his family. it's horrible."
His father is a retired New York City police officer, his stepmother is an officer assigned to transit headquarters in downtown Brooklyn and his fiancee is an officer in the city's 9th precinct in Manhattan.
James McNaughton was one of 273 New York City police officers on active duty in Iraq.