Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 27 years, 11 months, 11 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Traffic Division (TD)
District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 62
Date of Birth: 16 Jul 1858
Date of Appointment: 05 Jan 1893
Date of Incident: 001 - Central
End of Watch: 16 Dec 1920
Date of Interment: 20 Dec 1920
Cemetery: Mount Carmel Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-6
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 22
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 3
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 30-E: 13
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Charles R. Conlon, Star #104, aged 62 years, was a 27 year, 11 month, 11 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Traffic Division (TD).
On December 16, 1920, at 11:50 p.m., Officer Conlon had just finished his tour of duty and was on his way home. He stopped off at a newsstand owned by a friend, William H. Pope of 1352 North Park Avenue (present day Parkside Avenue). After buying a newspaper, Pope informed Officer Conlon of a robbery in progress in the store behind him. The robbery was taking place inside the Home Drug Company, also known as the Ashland Block Pharmacy, located at the corner of Clark and Randolph Streets. Moments before Officer Conlon stopped at the newsstand, two armed men, Thomas Heavey and a second man, entered the store while two accomplices waited outside in a taxicab. Once inside they announced a robbery saying, “Stick ‘em up everybody, or I’ll fill you full of lead.” The store was packed with over 40 patrons when the men entered and caught them by surprise. One of the robbers stood watch at the Randolph Street entrance while Heavey demanded the contents of the register while pointing his gun at the cashier, Mrs. Mandy Linthal. Mrs. Linthal was standing at the register located midway between both entrances to the store against the West wall. As she stood behind a wicket, she calmly closed the register drawer as Heavy approached. Heavey demanded the keys to the register, but she was not about to cooperate and refused to give him the keys. Linthal calmly stared at Heavy and he repeated, “Stick ‘em up, I said,” walking over to the wicket and thrusting his revolver through it. She replied, “I’ll do nothing of the kind and you won’t get any money, either.” This angered Heavey and in response he yelled, “The hell you wont’!” Heavey then struck her over the head and in the face with his gun and threatened her life.
It was at this very moment that Mr. Pope was telling Officer Conlon about the robbery. Officer Conlon drew his weapon and rushed into the store via the Randolph Street entrance. The robber that had been keeping watch saw the officer’s advance and yelled to his accomplice “Jiggers! Beat it! Here comes a copper.” He then slipped out the Clark Street entrance running to the waiting taxi. Officer Conlon then announced his presence and demanded Heavy drop his gun. Heavy, without obtaining any loot, turned and fled out the Clark Street Entrance. Officer Conlon pursued and continued to yell Halt as Heavy fled. Officer Conlon then fired upon Heavy as they ran and at 187 North Clark Street, in front of a candy store, Heavy turned and fired at Officer Conlon, emptying his revolver. Conlon was struck one time in the abdomen and fell mortally wounded.
Once the gunfire erupted, the two accomplices waiting in the taxi were joined by the second robber who jumped in and told the chauffer to “Drive like hell,” but another taxi blocked them in. The three bandits then jumped out of the taxi and made good their escape on foot. Hearing the gunfire, Patrolman John Dodd, who was inside the lobby of the Hotel Sherman, responded to the scene. He was able to determine what had taken place and fired upon Heavy as he attempted to escape a short distance from where Officer Conlon lay dying. Patrolman R. A. Heller, who watched Heavy collapse to the sidewalk mortally wounded from a gunshot wound in the chest, then joined Dodd. The officers summoned ambulances; both Conlon and Heavy were taken to Iroquois Hospital. Officer Conlon died shortly after arriving and Heavy died en route. Heavy’s ambulance diverted, taking him to the Western Casket Company located at 177 North Michigan Avenue. Once at the casket company a man with the last name of La Porte, who was also a drug addict, identified Heavy. La Porte stated that he had met Heavy a week prior at a barber shop. On Heavy police recovered five wrist watches, one diamond pin, $260.00 in currency and a cocaine kit.
A half hour prior to the robbery, William Bickel, Walker Bromley, Thomas Heavey and Arthur Franzen, had robbed a Westside drugstore located at 517 West Madison Street owned by Frank G. Granger. The men had absconded with large amounts of morphine, heroin and cocaine. It was believed the men had ingested a quantity of drugs before they attempted to rob the Home Drug Company.
The other three suspects were later identified and arrested. On December 23, 1920, William Bickel and Arthur Franzen were held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner, which also recommended the arrest of Walker Bromley. On April 19, 1921, the case was stricken off the record by judge Johnston for all three defendants.
Officer Conlon was waked at his residence located at 1525 West Ardmore Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Ita Catholic Church located at 1220 West Catalpa Avenue. He was laid to rest on December 20, 1920 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois.
Patrolman Charles R. Conlon, born July 16, 1858, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on January 5, 1893. On March 15, 1898, he was given a Civil Service promotion. Officer Conlon was two weeks from retirement when the incident occurred, he was set to retire on January 1, 1921.
Officer Conlon was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Annie B., Children: Charles J., Elizabeth C. and Mary M.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #3334.