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Remembering Andrew Cuneo, Boston’s First Italian American Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty (1921)

Patrolman Andrew B. Cuneo was killed on Aug. 13, 1921, in the North End.

Boston’s first Italian American police officer to be killed in the line of duty will finally be commemorated by the city he gave his life for.

August 13 marks the 90th anniversary since Patrolman Andrew Cuneo was shot and killed in the North End by former police officer Philip Whelan.

“Patrolman Cuneo will not be forgotten by the Boston Police Department, as we plan a Dedication in October for Officer Cuneo, who was our First Italian Boston Police Officer and First Italian Boston Officer Killed in the line of duty,” wrote East Boston’s resident police historian, Officer Robert Anthony, on Cuneo’s memorial web-page.

Anthony has been given the go ahead for a memorial by Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis, according to the East Boston Times-Free Press.

Anthony, who was named the Chronologist for the Boston Police last year, will be exploring locations to honor Officer Cuneo with a memorial. Many of Officers Cuneo’s family have been located and notified of this historic event, writes the Times-Free Press.

Born in Genoa, Italy, Cuneo had been appointed to the Boston Police Department on May 9, 1906, and served in Districts 3, 6 and 1 before his death by the hand of Philip Whelan.

Whelan, upset for having lost his job as a police officer, had stolen a .38 caliber revolver and five rounds of ammunition from a local store. Cuneo had attempted to stop Whelan, but in a close confrontation Cuneo was shot and killed on the spot. Whelan was then shot and wounded by other officers before being taken into custody.

Cuneo, 44 at the time, had served with the agency for 15 years. He was survived by his wife and nine children.

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