Patrolman Gearty suffered a fatal heart attack after being involved in an altercation when he responded to a fight call at Nicollet Avenue and Second Street. While trying to break up the fight he received blows to the head and chest. After returning to the station he complained of a headache and was taken to the hospital where he became unconscious. He had suffered a heart attack and died.

Patrolman Gearty had been with the agency for 12 years and was survived by his wife and two children.