Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: South Park Police Department
Served: Length of Service Unknown
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Unit of Assignment Unknown
District of Incident (Present Day): Lincolnwood, IL
Location of Occurrence:
Cause of Death: Aggravated Battery - Blunt Trauma
Age at Time of Death: 29
Date of Birth: 1895
Date of Appointment:
Date of Incident: Lincolnwood, IL
End of Watch: 07 Dec 1924
Date of Interment: 10 Dec 1924
Cemetery: Graceland Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Park Policeman Albert Milroy Burgerson, Star #221, aged 29 years, was a veteran of the South Park Police Department, unit of assignment unknown.
On December 7, 1924, at 3:15 a.m., Officer Burgerson, was off duty and out with friends at the “R” House tavern on Lincoln Avenue two blocks north of Crawford Avenue. He went to answer a call for help from Miss Betty von Gelsen, age 32. The woman was in an auto with six men being attacked. Officer Burgerson attempted to intervene and a melee ensued at the roadhouse. Some of the events that follow are unclear and it is not known if Patrick Keefe was in the vehicle at the time Officer Burgerson intervened or approached from somewhere else. However, Officer Burgerson was punched in the face by Keefe causing him to fall to the ground. Officer Burgerson sustained a broken jaw from the punch. It was also believed by physicians that once he lay on the ground he was kicked in the head, possibly by Keefe, causing his neck to break. Another citizen, Edward Engelkrout of 1928 West Berenice Avenue, was also injured in the melee. Patrick Keefe then fled the scene in his auto and was chased down by Officer Burgerson’s friends who were able to apprehend him.
After Officer Burgerson was involved in the fight, his brother-in-law, a Cook County Deputy Sheriff, Frank J. Murray, admitted he had shoved Burgerson’s body into a ditch beside the road because he could not drive his car past him. Murray said he then drove his wife and daughter to their home at 4712 North Leamington Avenue. It is not clear from records whether Officer Burgerson was dead at the time this occurred, but he died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the melee.
On December 8, 1924, Patrick Keefe was held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner for manslaughter along with John Mueller and Frank Murry who were held as accessories. On March 26, 1925, all three men were acquitted.
Officer Burgerson was waked at his residence located at 1806 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Graceland Cemetery Chapel located at 3419 North Clark Street. He was laid to rest on December 10, 1924 in Graceland Cemetery, 4001 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Park Policeman Albert Milroy Burgerson was born in 1895.
Officer Burgerson was a Master Mason and a member of North Shore Lodge No. 830 AF&AM. He was survived by his parents: Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Burgeson and siblings: Arthur E, Eric C., Beada and Ruth C.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #5839.
The South Park Police Department, in the City of Chicago, was disbanded on April 30, 1934. On May 1, 1934, the remaining officers were transferred to the Chicago Park District Police Department, which was organized on the same date. Three park district police departments, Lincoln, West, and South were consolidated into the Chicago Park District Police Department. Fallen Officer of the South Park Police Department are currently honored on the memorial wall of the Chicago Police Department as Chicago Police Officers. Their stars are displayed in the Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.