Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 7 years, 6 months, 5 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 11 - Englewood
District of Incident (Present Day): 007 - Englewood
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 25 May 1893
Date of Appointment: 05 Aug 1919
Date of Incident: 007 - Englewood
End of Watch: 11 Feb 1927
Date of Interment:
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot N3, Block 25, Section B
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-10
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 5
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 19
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 13-W: 14
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Joseph A. Bender, Sr., Star #2958, aged 33 years, was a 7 year, 6 month, 5 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 11 – Englewood, detailed to the Detective Bureau.
On February 10, 1927, 10:00 p.m., Officer Joseph Bender, while off duty and in in civilian clothes, was returning home after attending a double wake at 5611 South Wood Street. The wake was for a mother and daughter, Mary Kelly Mooney and Mary Mooney Koppelmann. While at the wake some in attendance took note of a suspicious auto parked outside, but no one took any further actions to investigate it. As Officer Bender, unaware of the auto, left the wake the car pulled away and began to follow him home. Officer Bender lived nearby at 1642 West 57th Street. He had almost reached his home when the automobile pulled up beside him and the two men inside drew his attention. The two armed offenders, William Gall, age 18 and Victor Walinski, age 19, exited the automobile and approached Officer Bender announcing a robbery. They ordered Officer Bender to put up his hands. Instead, Officer Bender reached for his service revolver as one of the gunmen opened fire. Officer Bender was struck in the chest just above his heart and collapsed to the sidewalk as the gunmen fled. Several other policemen attending the wake heard the gunfire and attempted to give chase to the fleeing auto, but were unable to keep up on foot. Officer Bender was rushed to German Deaconess Hospital on Morgan Street where he died at 12:22 a.m. on February 11, 1927.
While en route to the hospital, Bender told those riding with him what happened. Bender said, “They tried to stick me up and I wouldn’t have it.” It was believed the robbery was similar to one committed at 5639 S. Hamilton Avenue, where Elmore Bell had been shot in front of his home. Captain John Egan stated that he believed the same two men had committed the two crimes. It was later learned, after the investigation, that Officer Bender had been shot with another officer’s service revolver. That officer had been robbed in the exact same way by Gall and Walinski hours before Officer Bender was murdered. Both officers were in civilian clothes.
On February 18, 1927, William Gall and Victor Walinski were arrested after they wrecked a car they had stolen. During their interrogation they confessed to the murder of Office Bender. On February 27, 1927, they were indicted by the Grand Jury. Gall and Walinski were also found to be responsible for over 50 other robberies. On September 19, 1927, both boys were sentenced to life in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet on a plea of guilty to murder by Judge Eller.
Officer Bender was waked at Schroeder and Thompson Funeral Home and was laid to rest on February 14, 1927 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, 3801 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot N3, Block 25, Section B.
Patrolman Joseph A. Bender, Sr., born May 25, 1893, received a Temporary Appointment, #13, to the Chicago Police Department on August 8, 1919 and was issued Star #3906. He received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 25, 1921 and was issued Star #2958. He earned 1 Credible Mention and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $300.00 during his career.
Officer Bender was survived by his wife, Genevieve and son, Joseph A., Jr., age 8.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7664.