Served: 19 years
June 18, 1956 to December 8, 1975
On December 7, 1975 Sergeant Lally was scheduled to be off, but voluntarily worked to prevent a shortage of supervision in District Five. After midnight on December 8, 1975, he and Police Officer Robert Oliver found a vehicle parked behind a television repair shop at 5552 Colerain Avenue. The station wagon was the only vehicle absent of frost and its hood was still warm. Blankets were spread out in the cargo area as if ready to receive some delicate merchandize. Several feet from the car was a television repair shop and lights were turned on inside.
At 12:55 a.m., while Officer Oliver tried by radio to ascertain the registration of the vehicle, Sergeant Lally turned the door handle on the screen door to see if the door to the shop was locked. Suddenly, the door flung open and someone stuck a handgun out the door and shot Sergeant Lally. The bullet entered under his arm missing his bullet-resistant vest. Officer Oliver returned fire, striking the shooter in the arm and arrested him.
Sergeant Lally was transported to General Hospital where he was pronounced dead by Dr. Palmer at 1:32 a.m.
Sergeant Lally left a wife, Cathleen, and two children, Mary Lally and Daniel Lally. He was buried December 10, 1975, in Saint Joseph (New) Cemetery in Cincinnati. Cathleen joined him 26 years later during November 2001.
The shooter was identified as 35-year-old Richard Strunk of 5424 Hamilton Avenue and the owner of the shop. Strunk claimed that he thought Sergeant Lally was a burglar. Rumors abounded that Strunk had actually been expecting his wife, with whom he was experiencing domestic problems, when he blindly took a shot out the rear door, but that was never confirmed. After considerable contentious discussions with the Hamilton County Prosecutor, Detective Snodderly, Homicide Squad, begrudgingly charged Strunk with Involuntary Manslaughter. During May 1976, Richard Strunk was sentenced to 1 to 10 years imprisonment. He was paroled less than one year later, on April 19, 1977.
Sergeant Lally died fifty minutes sooner on the same date as Sergeant Handorf died a year before. Twenty-five years later, Police Officer Kevin Crayon would die yards from where Sergeant Lally was killed.
Sergeant Lally also left a brother, Donald Lally, who retired as the Deer Park Police Chief. Four nieces and nephews also served in law enforcement: Cheviot Police Chief Joseph Lally, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Lally and Clerk Judy Lally, and Cincinnati Police Officer Ann Lally.
During 1995, Sergeant Charles S. Powers voluntarily surrendered Badge No. S114 and the Department retired it.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Museum Director at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was revised March 2, 2012 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President, with assistance from the investigating supervisor, Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Thomas Oberschmidt (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Volunteer.