Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 3 years, 6 months*

Unit of Assignment / Detail: Town of Chicago - 2nd Ward

District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Aggravated Battery - Stabbed

Age at Time of Death: 34


Date of Birth: 08 Mar 1820

Date of Appointment: Mar 1851

Date of Incident: 001 - Central

End of Watch: 18 Sep 1854

Date of Interment:


Interment Details

 Cemetery: St. Boniface Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
 Grave Location: Lot 27, Block 7, Section A
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # A-1

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 12

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 1

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 4-E: 14

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: No Military Record Found


Incident & Biographic Details

Constable of Police Casper Lauer, Star #A/1, aged 34 years, was a 5 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, elected to the Town of Chicago – 2nd Ward.

On September 18, 1854, Constable Casper Lauer had located and detained a man, Patrick Cunningham, that had been wanted for a domestic abuse case involving the man’s elderly parents. While transporting his prisoner to the police station, a struggle ensued at Jackson Street and Edina Place (present day Plymouth Court). The offender produced a knife and stabbed officer Lauer in the abdomen. Officer Lauer returned two blows to the offender’s head with his baton, causing the man to fall to the ground. After flagging a passing wagon down and securing the prisoner, Officer Lauer transported himself to the nearest drug store where he succumbed to his wound shortly thereafter.

Patrick Cunningham was arrested and stood trial. On January 21, 1855, he was found guilty, convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Alton. His sentence was the maximum allowable at the time. On June 9, 1858, he was transferred to the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. Cunningham’s sister, Mary, began petitioning Illinois Governor John Wood to pardon her brother. In addition to his sister, the prosecutors of the case, the trial judge, the warden of the Illinois State Penitentiary at Alton, and Attorney Abraham Lincoln also sent petitions seeking Cunningham’s release. On August 8, 1860, Patrick Cunningham was pardoned by Governor Wood after serving almost six years of hi sentence.

Constable Lauer’s funeral mass was held in Requiem at St. Peter Church. He was laid to rest in St. Boniface Cemetery, 4901 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave –, Lot 27, Block 7, Section A.

Constable of Police Casper Lauer, born March 8, 1820, was elected in March 1851 and served from 1851 through 1853. He was then appointed as a day policeman on April 7, 1853. He served as a volunteer for the Chicago Fire Department prior to being elected a constable.

Constable Lauer was survived by his wife, Eva L. (nee Oehmen); sons: Nickolas Aloysius, age 3 and Joseph E., born in 1854 and brother, John (CPD).

Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database case not found for this incident.