Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 12 years, 7 months, 11 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 29 - Hudson
District of Incident (Present Day): 018 - Near North
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 41
Date of Birth: 07 Oct 1882
Date of Appointment: 15 Sep 1911
Date of Incident: 018 - Near North
End of Watch: 25 Sep 1924
Date of Interment: 29 Sep 1924
Cemetery: Rosehill Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-8
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 23
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 11
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 64-E: 16
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman David Louis Boitano, Star #3850, aged 41 years, was a 12 year, 7 month, 11 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 29 – Hudson.
On September 25, 1924, at approximately 10:00 p.m., Officer David Boitano told his wife, Charlotte, that he “was going to do a little work on the quiet.” He was off duty and did not start his tour until 12:00 a.m. that night. Officer Boitano had set out that evening intent on tracking down some men who had been involved in some recent Black Hand activities. While “working on the quiet” he went undercover wearing civilian clothes at Elm and Townsend (present day Hudson Avenue) Streets in what was then Little Italy. His beat was in an area colloquially known at the time as “Death Corner.” At 10:25 p.m., he was standing on the corner when an Italian man began running directly toward him carrying an object in his hand. The object was a gun and the man fired five gunshots at Officer Boitano. Officer Boitano was struck and mortally wounded but was able to return fire as he collapsed to the ground. The murderer continued running down the street and made good his escape. Officers from the Hudson Street Station responded to the scene and discovered Officer Boitano’s unconscious body. They put him in a patrol car and rushed him to Henrotin Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries the same day. The Coroner’s report attributed the circumstances of Officer Boitano’s death as a Black Hand Murder.
After the shooting Detectives and Policemen were sent into the district to search for the killer. A boy, Sam Aiello of 4647 North Robey Street (present day Damen Avenue) was interviewed. He stated, “I heard the shooting and I turned to see Boitano fall. He had his pistol in his hand and fired a shot. The man who shot him ran south on Townsend Street (present day Hudson Avenue). He was tall and dark and looked like an Italian.” Officer Boitano’s wife was also interviewed and she stated that, “He went into that neighborhood looking for a man who lived in Center Street. This man had killed another man named Frank Marotta two weeks ago and my husband was assigned to the case. It may have been Marotta’s slayer who shot my husband.”
Without any solid leads, it was four years before investigators received a tip identifying Officer Boitano’s killer. On June 13, 1928, police responded to a domestic disturbance in which the woman, Frances Trippidi, and a man, Frank Leo of 717 South Ashland Avenue, were arguing about the division of $400.00 she had received in a settlement claim from the Yellow Cab Company. As a result Mrs. Trippidi requested the man be arrested for being too persistent in his demands for a split of the money. The man then made an accusation that Mrs. Trippidi told him in detail how Carlo Aiello killed the policeman. He stated, “Don’t lock me up I’ll tell you who killed Boitano. Frances told me she used to be Carlo Aiello’s sweetie. She was looking out the window at 1146 North Townsend Street (present day Hudson Avenue) the night Boitano got it. She went out after the shooting and picked up Aiello’s cap. He ran away, but later he came back and she took care of him while the police were looking around for him. All that she said to me and it’s true.” Mrs. Trippidi denied the accusations and both were held for questioning while the search for Aiello was launched. Carlo Aiello was a member of the infamous Aiello gang. It was believed that he was indeed the murderer of Officer Boitano, but it is unknown the fate of Aiello or if he was ever arrested for the murder.
Officer Boitano was waked in a chapel located at 4717 North Broadway Avenue, his funeral mass was also held at the chapel. He was laid to rest on September 29, 1924 in Rosehill Cemetery, 5800 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman David Louis Boitano, born October 7, 1882, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 15, 1911 and was issued Star #3817. On April 19, 1917, he was discharged from the Department. On January 17, 1919, he was reinstated and issued Star #3850. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career. Officer Boitano had spent 13 years of his career pursuing Black Hand, of the Sicilian Mafia. The Black Hand referred to him as the “Nemesis of Black Handers.”
Officer Boitano was survived by his wife, Lottie “Charlotte” M. (nee Clifford); parents: James and Philomena and siblings: Alfred, Eva, George, John, Mrs. John Doudero, Mrs. Lawrence Oxx, Mrs. LeRoy Sweet and Mrs. Paul G. Hensel.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7474.