Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 16 years, 11 months, 19 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: 44
Date of Birth: 15 Mar 1887
Date of Appointment: 14 May 1914
Date of Incident: 001 - Central
End of Watch: 02 May 1931
Date of Interment: 06 May 1931
Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 3, Lot 26, Block 4, Section 8
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 22
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 30
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 53-E: 11
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Patrick Durkin, Star #1549, aged 44 years, was a 16 year, 11 month, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Traffic Division (TD).
On April 30, 1931, at 5:50 p.m., Officer Durkin was fatally shot by a man he attempted to arrest on Michigan Avenue in front of the Chicago Public Library located at 78 East Washington Street (present day Chicago Cultural Center).
Wanted was one Frank Jordan, alias Carl Carlson, of 2140 West Jackson Boulevard. Jordan was a doughnut peddler from Rock Island, Illinois who eight months prior became a bank robber. At the time of the incident, he was being sought for a bank robbery in Neponset, Illinois eight days earlier. Jordan had been traced to the Federal Life Building by two Burns Detective Agency operatives, Alex Benson and John Woods, who followed him to Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue where he stopped at a news stand at 5:30 p.m. Jordan had gone to the library to meet his wife who helped the Burns Detective Agency operatives set up a trap for him. It was there that the operatives signaled to Patrolman Durkin, having previously arranged for his assistance in the actual arrest. Officer Durkin responded and grabbed Jordan around the arms from behind, but the latter jerked free, and drawing a .25 caliber automatic pistol, shot him. Patrolman Ruthy, directing traffic at that intersection, seeing the commotion, ran to Durkin’s aid and was also fatally shot. Being rush hour, the street was filled with crowds of people and motorists heading home for the evening. This gave Jordan the opportunity of blending in with the crowds as he fled. As Jordan ran down Randolph Street he was pursued by Officer Ruthy, detectives and a number of civilians. They ran down Randolph Street to Garland Court and then to Washington Street. At Wabash Avenue, a civilian, Ernest Schaublin of 2804 West Logan Boulevard leapt onto Jordan knocking him to the ground. Before Jordan could be placed into custody by the pursuing officer, he fired off the remaining bullets in his gun. Officer Ruthy and two other officers were hit by the gunfire. Officer Ruthy was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead within minutes of arrival on April 30, 1931. Officer Durkin was also transported to St. Luke’s Hospital where he received blood transfusions from fellow officers. He lingered in the hospital for two days before succumbing to his injuries on May 2, 1931. The other two officers’ later recovered from their wounds.
Officer Ruthy had become famous to Chicagoans when he was a witness in the famous trial of the Vincent Brothers. They were tried for murder of Alfred Lingle, a Chicago Tribune reporter and friend to Al Capone. Lingle was killed on June 9, 1930. Coincidentally, Lingle was killed near the Illinois Central Railway pedestrian tunnel that leads to Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue, which is not more than 100 feet from where Ruthy was murdered. After Officer Ruthy was killed, Acting Police Commissioner Alcock was emphatic that Ruthy’s death was not in retaliation for his testimony in the trial. Ruthy had trouble remembering the details of Lingle’s murder during the trial after sustaining a head injury during the same incident. He was directing traffic after being placed on light duty during his recovery.
Jordan was initially interrogated by Mayor Anton Cermak. He told the mayor about a bank robbery on April 22, 1931 that netted Jordan $4,000.00. Jordan had a long record and history of robberies; he had also served time in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. Frank Jordan was held for the Murder of Officer Ruthy and indicted by Grand Jury and then arraigned before Chief Justice McGoorty. A second indictment was added following Officer Durkin’s death. Police also arrested Mrs. Gladys Jordan, wife of the accused, at their Jackson Boulevard apartment. She also confessed to being an accessory to the murders in that she was armed and waiting in a nearby automobile during the incident. On May 29, 1931, Jordan was convicted for the murders of Officers Durkin and Ruthy and sentenced to death by Judge Joseph Sabath. On June 5, 1931, a motion for a new trial was denied. On October 16, 1931, Jordan was executed in the electric chair at Cook County Jail. It is unknown what happened in the case of Gladys Jordan.
Officer Durkin was waked at his residence located at 6738 South Prairie Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Columbanus Catholic Church, located at 331 East 71st Street. He was laid to rest on May 6, 1931 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 3, Lot 26, Block 4, Section 8.
Patrolman Patrick Durkin, born March 15, 1887, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 14, 1914.
Officer Durkin was survived by his wife, Bridget Beatrice (nee O’Hara), age and children: Dennis Joseph, age 10, Edward Patrick, age 12, Eleanor, age 9 and Mary, age 14.