PORT JERVIS – It was 69 years ago when Port Jervis Police Department
Patrolman John MacKechnie lost his life in the line of duty on March 18,
Officer MacKechnie was known as Mack, served as a police officer for eight
years, and left behind a wife, Kathleen, and two children – Kay and John.
MacKechnie was killed after being beaten and strangled by a mentally unstable
person in old Port Jervis City Hall on Sussex Street. The man, Harold
Brundage, had been taken into custody earlier in the evening after officers
received reports that he was acting strangely.
Brundage was taken to a room in the basement of the city hall used as
an evidence locker and an interview room. Patrolman MacKechnie was left
alone with the suspect when a second officer was called away to assist
with an investigation.
A few moments later the suspect grabbed a double barreled shotgun being
stored as evidence and attacked Patrolman MacKechnie, knocking him unconscious
with the shotgun. The man then strangled him with his uniform necktie.
After killing Patrolman MacKechnie, the man ran upstairs and yelled that
he had killed the devil. The suspect was pursued back into the basement
where he was taken into custody. An ambulance was called for Patrolman
MacKechnie but he died before it arrived.
The suspect was charged with first-degree murder and was later committed
to a state hospital.