Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 8 years, 8 months, 26 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 9, 11th Precinct - Englewood
District of Incident (Present Day): 007 - Englewood
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 43
Date of Birth: 17 Feb 1876
Date of Appointment: 04 Mar 1911
Date of Incident: 007 - Englewood
End of Watch: 30 Nov 1919
Date of Interment: 03 Dec 1919
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 5
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 58
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 53-E: 13
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Michael Joseph Duffy, Star #141, aged 43 years, was an 8 year, 8 month, 26 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 9, 11th Precinct – Englewood.
On November 28, 1919, at 6:30 p.m., George Rogers, aka Edward Goeschell, George Kane and Roy Schilling, arrived at the Merry Widow Saloon accompanied by a blonde female companion, Grace Foster. They arrived in a taxicab chauffeured by Robert Fritz of 3236 West 63rd Street. They had been joy riding all over the South side in the cab for some thirty hours prior after the chauffeur was paid $50.55. Once inside the saloon the couple sat down and continued to drink. A couple of hours later they began to argue. Rogers accused Foster of robbing him. Foster denied the accusation. Becoming irate, he drew a revolver and began to search her clothing. At the same time a patron ran out of the saloon and found Officer’s Clancy and Duffy who responded to the saloon.
At 9:55 p.m., Officer Michael Duffy was on duty having a conversation with Patrolman John Clancy at 62nd and Halsted Streets when they were approached by a citizen. The citizen reported that an intoxicated patron was displaying a pistol inside the Merry Widow Saloon located at 6135 South Halsted Street. The officers rushed to the saloon to investigate. Upon arrival, Officer Duffy went in through the front door while Officer Clancy went in through a side door. Officer Clancy entered a wine room which was filled with couples. Once inside, he heard gunfire coming from the bar area and raced to investigate.
When Officer Duffy entered the saloon he was met by Rogers who was waiting for him. Rogers said, “So you’re the law, eh?” At the same time Rogers fired twice at Officer Duffy mortally wounding him. Officer Duffy was struck in his arm and torso, the round lodging near his spine. Upon entering the bar area, Officer Clancy observed Officer Duffy lying on the floor unconscious and a heavy set man, George Rogers, running out the front door. Officer Clancy gave chase but Rogers was able to make good his escape through an alley. Officer Clancy then raced back to the saloon summoning help. Officer Duffy was transported to St. Bernard Hospital where he was pronounced dead on November 30, 1919.
Investigators interviewed witnesses for their accounts of what happened. Sergeant Thomas Mangan was able to determine that the man who shot Officer Duffy was from Chicago Lawn and had been drinking heavily for three weeks strait. Grace Foster, who had remained on scene after the shooting, told investigators that the name of the man they were looking for was George Rogers.
On December 12, 1919, George Rogers was arrested and held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner together with Maurice Pypper as accessory. The January 1920 Grand Jury returned a No Bill on Pypper and indicted Rogers. On June 11, 1920, Rogers was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge Brentano. Rogers was paroled in May of 1950. Eight months later he was returned to the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet after being arrested in Denver, Colorado, for robbing a grocery store.
Officer Duffy was waked at his residence located at 5812 South Aberdeen Street. His funeral mass was held in Requiem at Visitation Catholic Church located at 843 West Garfield Boulevard. He was laid to rest on December 3, 1919 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Michael Joseph Duffy, born February 17, 1876, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 4, 1911.
Officer Duffy was survived by his wife, Mary; children: Ambrose, Marion, Michael and Vincent and parents: Catherine (nee Conway) and Michael.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #3467.