Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 23 years, 0 months, 21 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 10, 27th Precinct - Desplaines
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 51
Date of Birth: 1856
Date of Appointment: 14 Dec 1884
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 04 Jan 1908
Date of Interment: 06 Jan 1908
Cemetery: Forest Home Cemetery - Forest Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 5
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 37
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 18-W: 12
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Sergeant William R. Mooney, Star #2590, aged 51 years, was a 23 year, 0 month, 21 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 10, 27th Precinct – Desplaines.
On January 2, 1908, at 7:45 p.m., Detective Sergeant William R. Mooney stopped three suspects, William Brown, Thomas McCann and Horace Simmons, for questioning at Sangamon and Van Buren Streets. Detective Sergeant Mooney and two other officers were taking a burglary report that occurred earlier in the afternoon. While taking the report, Detective Sergeant Mooney observed three suspicious men and asked the victim to look them over as they approached. As they neared, Mooney directed the tallest of the trio, “Come here a moment. I want to see you.“ Mooney grabbed the suspect by the sleeve and his two companions ran north on Sangamon Street. Still holding the suspect, the officer fired several shots in the air to attract the attention of the other two officers who were then at the patrol box. The detectives turned on hearing the first shot, drew their weapons and fired at the fleeing men. One detective started in pursuit, leaving the second officer in charge of the prisoner at the box. At that same instant, another shot was fired. The detective turned in time to witness Mooney fall to the sidewalk and the tall suspect, revolver in hand, run north on Sangamon Street. Dragging his prisoner with him, the detective began to pursue the gunman, firing as he ran.
Meanwhile, the gunman’s companions drew their revolvers and engaged the pursuing detective in a gun battle as they continued to run north on Sangamon Street. The gunmen emptied their revolvers and took turns reloading and firing. When they reached Monroe Street, the men turned west and the pursuing officer soon lost sight of them. Hundreds attracted by the shooting gathered around the wounded officer and several men in the crowd carried him to Grace Hospital. Detective Sergeant Mooney was still conscious upon arrival and was able to provide a description of his assailant He succumbed to his injuries two days later at 1:48 a.m. on January 4, 1908.
Innocent bystanders were also hit by gunfire and were carried to the hospital, placed on cots next to Detective Sergeant Mooney.
Nine years earlier, Detective Sergeant Mooney was paralyzed for one year after being struck on the head by a thief at Peoria and Monroe Streets.
On January 21, 1908, William Brown and Thomas McCann were arrested and held by the Coroner’s Jury. Brown was convicted of murder and McCann as accessory. On January 22, 1908, Horace Simmons, alias Hi Hi, was arrested and turned over to the Sheriff. On March 16, 1908, Brown and McCann were sentenced to 14 years each in Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. Simmons was tried and sentenced to 14 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet for the murder of Herman Hanson, whom he fatally assaulted and robbed on October 28, 1907.
Detective Sergeant Mooney was waked at his residence located at No. 304 Walnut Street (present day 2240 West Walnut Street) and was laid to rest on January 6, 1908 in Forest Home Cemetery, 863 Desplaines Avenue, Forest Park, Illinois.
Detective Sergeant William R. Mooney, born in 1856, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on December 14, 1884.
Detective Sergeant Mooney was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association and Francisco Lodge No. 362 Knights of Pythias. He was survived by his wife, Annie and children: Thomasand William. He was preceded in death by his son, John.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #1588.
On October 14, 1910, Detective Sergeant Mooney’s star was retired by General Superintendent LeRoy T. Steward and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, City Hall, 121 North LaSalle Street, Room 505, Office of the Superintendent of Police. Officer Shea’s star was one of fourteen stars added to the newly instituted memorial to preserve the memory of officers killed in the line of duty. The tradition of retiring a star number was born. In 1928, the star case was moved to the 4th floor Office of the Superintendent at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. The Honored Star Case was later relocated to the lobby of Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters again moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Detective Sergeant Mooney’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.