Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 5 years, 2 months, 30 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 2 - Cottage Grove
District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 15 Sep 1888
Date of Appointment: 11 May 1917
Date of Incident: 001 - Central
End of Watch: 10 Aug 1922
Date of Interment: 14 Aug 1922
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 3
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 7
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 11-W: 5
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Patrick H. Doherty, Star #1978, aged 33 years, was a 5 year, 2 month, 30 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 2 – Cottage Grove.
On August 10, 1922, at 9:15 p.m., Officer Doherty was off duty and in plain clothes. He observed two men, David Thompson and Louis Roberts of 2928 South State Street, leaving a restaurant at 28th and State Streets. Officer Doherty was well known for patrolling his beat, even when off duty, in an area he had coined the “Bad Lands.” He had suspected the men of being holdups in an earlier armed robbery. As Officer Doherty approached to investigate he called out to the men from across the street. The men responded by opening fire and a gun battle ensued. Officer Doherty returned fire, shooting two times as they continued to shoot at him. He was struck three times and mortally wounded, dying shortly thereafter.
Witness accounts helped reconstruct the events as they occurred however not all accounts were trustworthy. The accounts were varied and vague due to fear of retaliation from neighborhood vice bosses. The course of events listed above is from the statements from the trust worthiest witnesses. It was never determined if the gun battle took place from across the entire street. It was believed the witnesses stated such in an attempt to protect themselves from identifying the shooters. David Thompson and Louis Roberts were held for questioning and eventually confessed. They claimed Officer Roberts approached the men with his revolver in hand and asked what they had on them as he began to feel their pockets. One of the men responded by grabbing Officer Doherty’s revolver and opening fire. The man fired three times as they both fled. The gun used to murder Officer Doherty was recovered under a sidewalk at 2724 South State Street.
Officer Doherty’s murder sparked racial tensions when over 100 officers were sent into the largely black neighborhood surrounding 31st and State Streets in order to conduct a manhunt for the shooters. Further violence was stemmed, as officers, mostly from the Chicago Police Reserves, were able to keep the crowds under control and restore order within an hour. Doherty’s murder was mostly a mystery as several theories developed. The most popular theory was that his murder was a planned hit. It was an open secret in the area he patrolled that the vice bosses openly talked about killing him to end his interference with their illegal vice activities. However, that theory along with the others were never substantiated.
Officer Doherty was laid to rest on August 14, 1922 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
On August 12, 1922, David Thompson and Louie Roberts were arrested and held by the Coroner. On November 28, 1922, both were acquitted by Judge Caverly.
Patrolman Patrick H. Doherty, born September 15, 1888, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 11, 1917. He earned 6 Credible Mentions during his career.
Officer Doherty was survived by his siblings: Dennis, Margaret, Mary, Patrick and Willie.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7458.