Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years, 6 months, 19 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 31st District - Cragin
District of Incident (Present Day): 016 - Jefferson Park
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 26 Nov 1895
Date of Appointment: 26 Oct 1922
Date of Incident: 016 - Jefferson Park
End of Watch: 15 May 1929
Date of Interment: 18 May 1929
Cemetery: Irving Park Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-12
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 20
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 24
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 18-E: 6
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Navy
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Raymond E’Roy Martin, Star #2313, aged 33 years, was a 6 year, 6 month, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 31st District – Cragin, detailed to the Bomb Squad.
On May 15, 1929, at 4:50 p.m., Detective Martin was acting as a decoy in the David Blumenthal kidnapping plot. Detective Martin’s assignment was to stand in as Moses Blumenthal, an x-ray technician, the brother of kidnap victim Philip Blumenthal, and make a ransom payment of $15,000.00. Detective Martin had an uncanny resemblance to Moses Blumenthal and even wore a sling to mirror Moses who had recently been injured. Unfortunately, his disguise was not enough to fool the kidnappers. The events leading to Detective Martin’s murder are as follow.
Philip Blumenthal was a former bootlegger who became very successful in real estate. The kidnappers had demanded $30,000.00 in ransom. In order to secure Philip’s safe release, a $15,000.00 down payment was made by Henry Finkelstein, who was a surviving member of the Bugs Moran gang. After two days of confinement and with the down payment made Philip was released with the promise that the rest of the ransom would be delivered. It was at this time the crime was reported to the police who then formulated the ruse to apprehend the kidnappers. With Detective Martin recruited to play Moses, police waited with the Blumenthal’s for further instructions from the kidnappers on where to deliver the rest of the ransom.
The kidnappers contacted the Blumenthal’s and gave them further instructions. With Detective Martin in his disguise along with Lieutenant George Baker of the Bomb Squad and three other officers took their positions. The Lieutenant and three officers took concealed positions close by to observe and aide Martin if needed. It was 4:50 p.m., on the Northeast corner of Laramie Avenue and Van Buren Street when the five kidnappers pulled up. The kidnappers penetrated his disguise and when the ruse was detected opened fire. Martin returned fire; exchanging gunfire with the kidnappers they ran to their car. Martin continued to fire as he collapsed to the ground. The other officer’s emerged at the sound of the first gunshot and returned fire along with Martin. The bandits, unfortunately, escaped unscathed with the $15,000.00 ransom and made good their escape. Detective Martin was rushed to Francis Willard Hospital where he died a short time later.
Fred Fisher, David Miller, Martin O’Leary, Pasquale Paldo and Ernest Rossi, all well-known gangsters, were identified as suspects in the shooting. On May 29, 1929, messages for their arrest were broadcast. On May 19, 1929, Pasquale Paldo was arrested and on May 23, 1929 was held by the Coroner to the Grand Jury. On July 2, 1929, the case against Paldo was dismissed with prejudice by Judge Jonas. On August 22, 1929, Fisher and Miller were murdered during a quarrel in a gambling house in Ludlow, Kentucky. On July 16, 1933, O’Leary was arrested at a Cicero, Illinois hotel, former stronghold of Al Capone. Rossi is still at large.
Detective Martin was waked at his residence located at 5058 North Kedvale Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Edward’s Church located at 4350 West Sunnyside Avenue. He was laid to rest on May 18, 1929 in Irving Park Cemetery, 7777 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, Illinois.
Detective Raymond E’Roy Martin, born on November 26, 1895, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 26, 1922. He earned 4 Credible Mentions during his career.
Detective Martin served in the U.S. Navy from May 13, 1918 thru September 30, 1921 at the Proving Grounds, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Machinist Mate 2nd Class. He was survived by his wife, Mary (nee Sharkey, age 27; children: Buddy and Jerome Gordon, age 6; father, Edmund John and siblings: Amanda, Edmund, Maria, Mathlie and Viola.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #10554.