Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Park District Police Department
Served: 15 years*
Unit of Assignment / Detail: West Section
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 46
Date of Birth: 28 Feb 1889
Date of Appointment: 1920
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 02 Nov 1935
Date of Interment: 06 Nov 1935
Cemetery: Mount Olive Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 2
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 39
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 20-W: 16
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Park Policeman Joseph Isola, Star #653, aged 46 years, was a 15 year veteran of the Chicago Park District Police Department, assigned to the West Section.
On November 1, 1935, Officer Isola was patrolling his beat. While walking on Washington Boulevard Charles McGavin, former Illinois Congressman alerted him that his friend was being robbed and assaulted. Charles McGavin had been walking with his friend, Joseph Posch, age 50, owner of a café located at 1350 West Lake Street. The two men had just left Pasch’s café and while walking two armed robbers approached them on Ada Street just north of Washington Boulevard. The robbers honed in on Posch which allowed McGavin to run for help. The robbers beat Posch severely and took $28.00. After McGavin alerted Officer Isola, he rushed to the scene with McGavin to discover the robbery still in progress. The offenders saw Officer Isola approaching and immediately opened fire, striking the officer in the chest just below the heart. The robbers then fled the scene in an automobile. Posch sustained a fractured skull and was taken to Cook County Hospital and eventually recovered, but lost sight in his right eye from the beating. Officer Isola was rushed to Garfield Park Hospital where he died the next day on November 2, 1935.
Charles McGavin disappeared shortly after the shooting and did not remain on scene for questioning. He was later located at his residence, a hotel, located at 900 West Madison Street. He was taken into custody and transported to the Detective Bureau shortly before Isola’s death. McGavin was shown pictures of suspects, but was unable to identify any of the bandits from the pictures he was shown. Charles McGavin represented the 8th Illinois District in Congress from 1905 to 1909. His political career began when he was appointed Assistant City Attorney in 1903. He was, potentially, held in custody until he could testify at a Coroner’s Inquest into Isola’s death.
The two offenders were never apprehended.
Officer Isola was waked at his residence located at 530 North Curtis Street. His funeral mass was held at Christian Assembly Church located at 1350 West Erie Street. He was laid to rest on November 6, 1935 in Mount Olive Cemetery, 3800 North Narragansett Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Park Policeman Joseph Isola, born February 28, 1889, received his Probationary Appointment to the West Park District Police Department in 1920. He was laterally transferred to the Chicago Park District Police Department upon the consolidation of park districts on May 1, 1934.
Officer Isola served in the U.S. Army from August 26, 1918 thru August 26, 1918 in the 213th P WE Air Service Command, serving only one day and was Discharged at the rank of Private. He was survived by his expectant wife, Mary (nee Andreoni), age 31; sons: James and Lloyd, age 4; parents: Aurlia (nee Sbarbaro) and James and siblings: Albert, David, John, Lena, Louis and Mrs. N. Consentino. He was preceded in death by his siblings: Abel and Louise. On July 7, 1936, his wife gave birth to a baby girl, Joanne Beulah Isola.
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 Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.