Former Chicago cop, a ‘true hero,’ dies 29 years after ex-cop shot him

SHARE Former Chicago cop, a ‘true hero,’ dies 29 years after ex-cop shot him

Ex-cop Tommie Lee Hudson surrenders to police at 7237 S. Stony Island on July 14, 1988, after shooting two people, including Officer Bernard Domagala. | Bob Ringham / Sun-Times

Bernard “Bernie” Domagala, a Chicago cop who was shot and badly wounded 29 years ago by a former officer on the South Side, has died of his wounds.

Domagala died Tuesday at Kindred Lakeshore Hospital in Edgewater. He was 66.

On Thursday, the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide due to complications caused by the gunshot wound to his head.

He is survived by his wife and three sons — one who was 4 and twins who were just 4 months old when Domagala was shot while responding to the home of Tommie Lee Hudson, a former Chicago cop who had barricaded himself inside his home at 7237 S. Stony Island.

On July 14, 1988, Cook County sheriff’s officers had gone to the home to evict Hudson — who was armed with a shotgun and five handguns — for failing to pay his mortgage.

Bernard Domagala with his family. | Chicago Police Department

Bernard Domagala with his family. | Chicago Police Department

A standoff ensued, and the Chicago Police Department’s Hostage, Barricade and Terrorist Unit, which Domagala was a part of, was called out. Officers surrounded the property.

Domagala, 37 years old at the time, peeked around the corner of the garage, and Hudson shot him in the forehead from 100 feet away, leaving him with lasting brain injuries. He required medical care the rest of his life, according to the police.

A mover, sent there to help evict Hudson, was shot in the arm.

Hudson ultimately gave himself up and was charged with attempted murder. In 1990, he was found incompetent to go to trial and was committed to a state psychiatric hospital. He died in 1994.

“On behalf of the entire Chicago Police Department, we extend our deepest condolences to his loved ones for the loss of a true hero,” First Deputy Police Supt. Kevin Navarro said Thursday. “He will never be forgotten.”

Messages left with Domagala’s family were not returned Thursday afternoon.

Bernard Domagala. | Chicago Police Department

Bernard Domagala. | Chicago Police Department

In announcing Domagala’s passing, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation wrote that being a Chicago Police officer “was one of the two most important things in his life. The other was his family.”

“He loved his job as he knew he would, and always said, ‘Every day is something different, a new challenge.’”

Domagala was struck in the temple with a “big black ball” fired from a .44-caliber, Italian-made replica of a “cap and ball” pistol.

“It’s like getting hit in the head with a 16-pound sledgehammer,” former Area 1 Detective Cmdr. August Sylvain said at the time.

The standoff in which Domagala was shot lasted 7½ hours. It ended when police launched about 30 rounds of tear gas into the two-story brownstone, prompting Hudson to surrender, walking out of the home waving a white flag on a stick.

Police speculated that Hudson — an Air Force veteran employed by the CPD from 1966 to 1971 — was wearing a gas mask when they fired tear gas into the building because the “amount they put in there would kill him,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported at the time.

Inside Hudson’s home, prosecutors said, police found several guns, three homemade bombs and assorted ammunition.

Despite not making his mortgage payments, Hudson’s family said at the time that he was not in financial trouble, but instead suffered from mental health problems after he himself was shot years earlier.

His sister said that while still employed as an officer, Hudson’s partner accidentally shot him in the temple as they were subduing a vicious dog.

In 1986, police said, Hudson was arrested for shooting two dogs in his house. A detective who investigated that shooting called Hudson “a mental case.”

Former Chicago Police Supt. LeRoy Martin said at the time that Hudson had exhausted his medical leave while with the Police Department and still was sick, so he was terminated.


Hudson’s sister said that relatives had warned the Sheriff’s Department several times in 1986 and 1987 that there might be an incident if they tried to evict Hudson, because he collected guns. They asked that they be notified of such an eviction so they could be present.

A cousin of Hudson’s told the Sun-Times he was angry that the Sheriff’s Department never alerted the family before they tried to evict Hudson.

The cousin added that Hudson had turned into “a hermit” in the years preceding the shooting and that he “drifted in and out” of being coherent. Relatives hadn’t been allowed in his house in four years.

Visitation services for Domagala will be held from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at Blake Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn. His funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Queen of Martyrs Church in Evergreen Park.

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