Although Kevin Brennan, the Irish American cop who survived being shot at point blank range in New York City, didn’t turn out to have a Donegal connection, a Donegal cop was, indeed, involved in the dramatic incident.
Lieutenant James Doherty, known as Seamus, is the Commanding Officer of the 90th Precinct Detective Squad in Brooklyn. He led the investigation and is responsible for capturing the suspect in the case. He is also the son of Charlie Doherty (The Doc) of Upper Corraine, Ballybofey.
Seamus told the Democrat he was delighted to make quick progress in the investigation. “We had the suspect within a matter of hours after the shooting, which is remarkable, so we’re pretty pleased.”
Seamus spent a lot of time in Donegal as well as Kerry, where his mother hails from, when he was growing up. Then he “finished school in America”. In addition to his distinguished career with the police force, he succeeded another Donegal man, Paul McCormack as President of NYPD Gaelic Football Club.
And he’s no stranger to heroism either.
In October, Seamus was presented with the prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Award in recognition of his outstanding “endurance and performance of duty in the face of life-threatening illnesses and injury”.
Seamus lost his left leg below the knee in a motorcycle accident while on holidays in Florida in March, 2002.
The accident also shattered his femur, fractured his elbow and dislocated his shoulder, causing massive blood loss that required him to be resuscitated en route to the hospital.
Despite these catastrophic injuries, Seamus was determined to return to duty.
After returning to New York, he underwent several skin graphs and learned to walk with a prosthetic leg. Since then, he has earned promotions to sergeant, lieutenant, and lieutenant commander detective squad. He now oversees investigations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Kevin Brennan, the 29-year-old policeman who was shot in the head at point blank range in the line of duty on January 31, miraculously survived when the bullet lodged behind his ear. He was released from hospital last Friday and reunited with his wife Janet and their 2-month-old daughter Maeve.