Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 2 years, 11 months, 10 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 41st District - Rogers Park
District of Incident (Present Day): 024 - Rogers Park
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 35
Date of Birth: 04 Nov 1909
Date of Appointment: 24 Oct 1942
Date of Incident: 024 - Rogers Park
End of Watch: 03 Sep 1945
Date of Interment: 07 Sep 1945
Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 43, Lot 3, Block 2, Section 8
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 7
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 44
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 22-W: 3
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Charles A. Brady, Star #6795, aged 35 years, was a 2 year, 11 month, 10 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 41st District – Rogers Park.
On September 2, 1945, at 11:10 p.m., Officer Brady and his partner, George H. Helstern, working in plainclothes were en route to their beat. They observed a suspicious male near a currency exchange on Lunt Avenue and Clark Street. Knowing the suspect didn’t belong in the area the two officers crossed the street and positioned themselves out of sight. Watching the man for a moment, the officers then approached the subject and announced they were police officers. The offender, Cecil “Red” Smith immediately opened fire, mortally wounding both officers. Both officers returned fire, expending half dozen rounds, as they fell to the ground. Officer Helstern was shot in the cheek and chest and died almost immediately. Officer Brady was struck in the back but didn’t lose consciousness. As he lay on the ground he recognized a local civilian named Paul McMahon. Brady gave McMahon his service revolver and told him to do his best to the criminal. McMahon fired once at Smith as he made good his escape down a nearby alley.
A few minutes later a 41st District squad car driven by Patrolmen Arthur Ackman and George Heckenbech was driving to the station at 7075 North Clark Street. The officers observed a small crowd milling around the corner of Lunt Avenue and Clark Street and stopped to investigate. They quickly discovered Officer Brady lying face down on the sidewalk with his service revolver and spent cartridges scattered about nearby. The officers loaded Brady into their squad car to transport him to the hospital, when a witness informed them that there was another officer injured nearby. The officers ran to investigate and located Officer Helstern about 75 feet south of the corner. Both Officer Brady and Helstern were transported to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston by patrol wagon. Officer Helstern was pronounced dead on arrival on September 2, 1945. Officer Brady succumbed to his injuries three and a half hours after the shooting at 2:40 a.m. on September 3, 1945.
Following the shooting, police squads all over the city were put on alert to hunt down the killer. Several witnesses gave differing descriptions of the shooter. Detectives turned to Officer Brady for clarity as he lay in the hospital fighting for his life. Brady did his best to provide a description of the killer despite receiving multiple blood transfusions. He described the killer as a dirty-faced young man wearing a slouch hat, blue shirt, dark pants and a black rubber glove on his left hand. That led detectives to believe the killer had a prosthetic limb.
Cecil Smith was eventually apprehended and charged with two counts of murder. While awaiting trial he met a different justice. In December, 1945, Cecil Smith was shot and killed by members of his own gang in fear that he would turn in other gang members.
Officer Brady was waked at Maloney Funeral Home located at 1359 West Devon Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Ignatius Church located at 6559 North Glenwood Avenue. He was laid to rest on September 7, 1945 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 43, Lot 3, Block 2, Section 8.
Patrolman Charles A. Brady, born November 4, 1909, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 24, 1942. Prior to joining the Chicago Police Department Officer Brady was a Loyola University football player and then a Cook County Highway Deputy Sheriff.
Officer Brady was survived by his wife, Bernice (nee Crawley), age 34; children: Anthony, Benedict, age 11, Bernice, age 10, Charles, age 13, Delia, 7 months old, James, age 5, Loretta, age 3, Mary Elizabeth, Melissa, age 8, Michael, age 6 and Susan, age 2; parents: Elizabeth (nee Dodson) and Ignatius and siblings: Gene, Elizabeth, Francis Powers, Mary Rita and Virginia Baldwin. He was preceded in death by his sister, Loretta.