Conflict Period:
Other Service 1
Navy 1
24 Dec 1939 2
Bush, Williamson, Illinois 1
08 Feb 1986 2
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Arleigh E Mccree 2
24 Dec 1939 2
Bush, Williamson, Illinois 1
08 Feb 1986 2
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California 1
Cause: Bomb Explosion 1

Other Service 1

Navy 1
Released from Navy:
14 Dec 1964 3
Enlisted in the Navy:
04 Mar 1957 3
Social Security:
Card Issued: Unknown Code (VA) 2
Social Security Number: ***-**-2254 2

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  1. Contributed by pushyjones
  2. Social Security Death Index
  3. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 Arleigh McCree Birth Date: 24 Dec 1939 Death Date: 8 Feb 1986 SSN: -----2254 Branch: NAVY Enlistment Date: 4 Mar 1957 Release Date: 14 Dec 1964 — Contributed by pushyjones


McCree, Arleigh
Rank: Detective
Serial Number: 12241
Division: Scientific Investigation Division
Date Killed: Saturday, February 8, 1986
Cause of Death: Bomb Explosion
Bio: Officer Ball and Detective Arleigh McCree were killed while attempting to defuse two booby-trapped pipe bombs. The officers, both members of the Bomb Squad, were called to a home that was being searched in connection with a shooting. The officers conducting the search located the two pipe bombs in a garage and called the Bomb Squad to the scene. While examining the devices the officers determined they were booby trapped and moved all of the other officers away from the scene.
As Detective McCree and Officer Ball attempted to defuse the bombs they detonated, killing Detective McCree instantly and fatally wounding Officer Ball, who succumbed to the wounds at a local hospital several hours later.

On Feb. 8, 1986, exactly 26 years ago today, Detective Arleigh McCree and Officer Ronald Ball of the Los Angeles Police Department were killed while dismanting two pipe bombs discovered in a home in North Hollywood.

McCree was the head of the Los Angeles Police Bomb Squad Unit and was considered one of the world's leading experts on explosives and international terrorism, according to a Los Angeles Times profile.

According to the LAPD's website, both McCree and Ball were "expert bomb technicians who had contributed extensively to the research and development of numerous techniques for dealing with bombs that are still being utilized throughout the world today."

Both men were honored with a from the LAPD last year in a ceremony that recognized officers for acts of bravery resulting in injury or death in the past 90 years. (See attached YouTube video.)

"I cannot remember when two deaths have stirred the department as deeply," said former LAPD Police Chief Daryl Gates at their funeral, according to Gates, who at the time was the police chief of the LAPD, called McCree and Ball "heroes whose deaths have made us realize the awesome, awesome task of securing the peace in our communities."

Donald Lee Morse, the man who owned the home where the bombs were located, was later found guilty of murder.

Morse was a television and film makeup artist and police went to Morse's home at 6849 Vascoy Ave. that day to search for a pistol that had been used four days earlier to shoot an official of the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Union, Local 706, of which Morse was a member, according to the L.A. Times. The pistol was not found and Morse was not charged in the shooting, but officers did discover two pipe bombs.

While examining the devices, McCree and Ball determined they were booby-trapped and moved all of the other officers away from the scene, according to the LAPD. But something went wrong and McCree and Ball were killed trying to dismantle the bombs.

Morse denied ever seeing the bombs before and said they were not his, according to numerous news reports. But a jury did not believe his story and he was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted on two counts of first-degree murder.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Dino J. Fulgoni told reporters it is was not necessary to prove that Morse intended to kill the officers, only that he had "malice aforethought" for someone, according to the L.A. Times.

"Since the bomb was planted in a place where it was not supposed to go off, we're dealing with delicate legal theories here. But we're very confident that we're on good legal grounds... If I place a bomb at 7th and Broadway, I don't know who I'm going to kill, but I'm certainly planning to harm someone," Fulgoni said.

Morse's conviction was later reduced by an appellate judge to second-degree murder in 1992, according to the L.A. Times. The reduction made him eligible for parole in 1994. There are no news reports that Patch could find online after the L.A. Times report in 1992 about his sentence reduction. Searches of inmates in the California penal system shows no record of Morse still being incarcerated, making it appear likely that he was released.

Patch discovered several online funeral notices in Florida for an African American man named Donald Lee Morse, who died in 2009. The notices identified the deceased as an African American California resident who was 59, the same age and race the Donald Lee Morse convicted of the bombing was.

Detective Arleigh E. McCree (24 December 1939 - 8 February 1986) was the Officer in Charge of the Firearms and Explosives Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department and counter-terrorism specialist, widely recognized as one of the top explosive experts in the world.

McCree investigated the Symbionese Liberation Army bomb making operations in 1976 and was part of the bomb squad that investigated the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. A year later, McCree headed the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics bomb squad. McCree had written a text on explosive devices. In 1982 he testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism. He said government manuals on how to make bombs were too easy for terrorists to get.

McCree is reported to have been offered him $140,000 by Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya to train terrorists in the use of explosives. McCree was also a contributor to Military Police magazine. McCree was killed along with officer Ronald Ball in a 1986 bomb disposal operation in Hollywood, California. The two had been attempting to defuse two pipe bombs in a murder suspect's garage when the bombs exploded.

He is honored among the fallen officers in the line of duty at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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