CHICAGO — An officer shot and wounded in the line of duty nearly three decades ago has died.
Bernie Domagala, 66, died Tuesday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. He had dreamed of becoming a police officer throughout his life and joined the Chicago Police Department in 1981, according to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
"A part of Chicago was lost with the passing of Officer Bernie Domagala, who honorably served this department and the city he loved until he was critically wounded in 1988 while on duty," First Deputy Supt. Kevin Navarro said in a prepared statement. "For nearly three decades, he and his family bravely faced the challenges of his injuries up until his recent passing."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said his death was "a tragic reminder of the danger our officers confront and the sense of dedication and duty in which they serve. Officer Domagala dreamed of being a Chicago police officer from a young age, and he served and sacrificed for the city he loved.”
The Memorial Foundation said Domagala had suffered from the "devastating injuries" he sustained when he was shot in the line of duty 29 years ago.
"Despite the many challenges his life held for him since being injured, he never lost his love for the two most important things in his life: his family and the Chicago Police Department," according to the Memorial Foundation. "We will remember him as a true hero."
On July 14, 1988, Domagala — who worked in the Hostage, Barricade and Terrorist Unit — was almost done with his shift when he went to a hostage situation at 7237 S. Stony Island Ave., according to the Memorial Foundation. A former Chicago police officer had shot a person trying to evict him and then barricaded himself inside the home, according to the Tribune.
Officers surrounded the home, and Domagala looked around the corner of the building for a "split second," according to the Memorial Foundation.
In that time, the man fired at Domagala, hitting the officer in his forehead.
Domagala survived surgery to the remove the bullet from his brain, but he required more surgeries and therapy throughout the years and lived in a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center, according to the Memorial Foundation.
Domagala, of Orland Park, was helped by his three children and wife, who survive him.
The former officer who was charged with shooting Domagala, Tommie Lee Hudson, was declared incompetent to stand trial in 1990.
Navarro said of Domagala: "On behalf of the entire Chicago Police Department, we extend our deepest condolences to his loved ones for the loss of a true hero. He will never be forgotten."
Visitation is 3-9 p.m. Sunday at Blake Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn, and the funeral will start 10 a.m. Monday at Queen of Martyrs Church, 10233 S. Central Park Ave.