Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Park District Police Department
Served: 18 years*
Unit of Assignment / Detail: North Section
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Location of Occurrence:
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 51
Date of Birth: 19 Jun 1890
Date of Appointment: 1923
Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall
End of Watch: 10 Dec 1941
Date of Interment: 13 Dec 1941
Cemetery: St. Lucas Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 19
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 42
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 16-W: 3
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Park Policeman Charles “Buck” H. Williams, II, Star #210, aged 51 years, was a 18 year veteran of the Chicago Park District Police Department, assigned to the North Section.
On December 10, 1941, Officer Williams while off duty, but still in uniform stopped to relax in a lounge at 4301 North Western Avenue on his way home from work. Two offenders, intent on robbery, entered the establishment and announced a robbery, while a third man waited outside in a stolen car. The two offenders didn’t see Officer Williams until after they announced the robbery. As soon as one of the robbers saw Officer Williams he opened fire shooting six times, while the other offender held the front door open to aide in their escape. Officer Williams was struck three times in the stomach. He drew his service revolver and returned fire before collapsing near the bar. The robbers fled in the waiting car without obtaining any proceeds making good their escape. Officer Williams was transported to Martha Washington Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
The shooter had left his hat behind as he fled. The hat was traced to the store where it was purchased and investigators were able to identify its owner from the store’s clerk. Using the name, investigators utilized the local draft boards records to locate an address on the shooter. Police went to the address and were able to locate John Pantano and place him in custody. Pantano claimed that he didn’t shoot the officer and could not provide the full names of his accomplices because he only knew them as Tom and Eddie. Investigators worked the lead which led to the arrest of Charles Theos and Joseph Moreale.
John Pantano was tried, found guilty and sentenced to death. In September 1942, he was electrocuted. Charles Theos and Joseph Moreale were also tried and found guilty. They were both sentenced to separate prison terms.
Officer Williams was waked at a chapel located at 3005-07 North Lincoln Avenue, his funeral mass was also held at the chapel. He was laid to rest on December 13, 1941 in St. Lucas Cemetery, 5300 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois.
Park Policeman Harry “Buck” H. Williams, II, born on June 19, 1890, received his Probationary Appointment to the Lincoln Park District Police Department in 1923. He was laterally transferred to the Chicago Park District Police Department upon the consolidation of park districts on May 1, 1934.
Officer Williams served in the U.S. Army in the Field Artillery Corps, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of the Lincoln Park Police Social & Benevolent Association. Officer Williams was survived by his wife, Nellie C. (nee Gustafson), age 47; parents: Frank and Minnie (nee Berg) and sister, Ella Jaster.
The Chicago Park District Police Department, in the City of Chicago, was disbanded on December 31, 1957. On January 1, 1958, the remaining officers were transferred to the Chicago Police Department through an intergovernmental agreement. Fallen Officer of the Chicago Park District Police Department are currently honored on the memorial wall of the Chicago Police Department as Chicago Police Officers. Their stars are displayed in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.