Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 9 months, 20 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 15 - Brighton Park
District of Incident (Present Day): 009 - Deering
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 27
Date of Birth: 06 May 1898
Date of Appointment: 07 Jun 1922
Date of Incident: 009 - Deering
End of Watch: 27 Mar 1926
Date of Interment: 31 Mar 1926
Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 3, Lot NS 24, Block 6, Section 6
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-9
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 8
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 16
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 56-E: 15
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Edward Charles Finegan, Star #3444, aged 27 years, was a 3 year, 9 month, 20 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 15 – Brighton Park.
On March 27, 1926, at 2:30 p.m., Officer Finegan and his partner, Patrolman Edward Ruback, had pulled over a speeding auto on 39th Street approximately 50 feet east of South California Avenue. The vehicle was also reported stolen and as a result the officers arrested the driver and his passenger. Officer Finegan would transport the violators, Otto Hacker and Richard Evan, age 19 to the station while Officer Ruback followed behind in the stolen car. Finegan set off for the station with Hacker sitting beside him and Evan in the rear seat. Without warning Evan pulled out a gun and shot Officer Finnegan in the back of the head. Evan and Hacker then pushed Officer Finegan out of the automobile without slowing down. Tragically, when they pushed Finegan out of the car, his blue police coat got hung up on the cars running board, dragging him on the pavement. As the two men continued to escape, they dragged Finegan’s body alongside the car and it wasn’t until the car drove by the Brighton Park police station when Finegan’s body finally broke free and landed in front of the station. As the two men sped past the police station, Officer Ruback jumped out of his vehicle and began to fire at the Evans and Hacker. Hearing the commotion outside, Lieutenant Bert Cleghorn and Police Operator Joe Leonard ran outside. They attempted to fire at the fleeing felon’s but a crowd of children at a nearby playground was in the way. Officer Finegan died before he could be taken to a hospital.
On March 29, 1926, Richard Evan and Otto Hacker’s arrest was recommended by the Coroner. On April 16, 1926, Evan and Hacker were arrested in Midland, Texas in a stolen auto taken from W. W. Sherman of 6826 Bennett Avenue, Midland, Texas. On September 20, 1926, they were extradited back to Chicago and turned over to the Sheriff. On September 30, 1926, they were indicted. Hacker turned state’s evidence and testified at the trial against Evans. Richard Evan was found guilty and sentenced to hang on October 22, 1926 by Judge Harry B. Miller. His execution was postponed and on October 29, 1926, he was executed by hanging at Cook County Jail. On January 18, 1927, Otto Hacker was acquitted by Judge Lindsay.
Just before Evan was executed he called for reporters and made a full confession saying, “We had been drinking that day. I don’t suppose I would have killed the copper if I was cold sober. You know my mind was kind of hazy from the moonshine stuff we would get for .35 cents a shot. I fired the shots at Finegan, but then Hacker is just about as guilty as I. You know we had an understanding that if any policeman tried to interfere with us that we would kill him. That started soon after we went into the stickup game. A speed cop stopped us while we were going through Chicago Heights and Hacker pulled his gun and said if we are pinched we will knock him off. That happened later on at 55th and Halsted Streets, but both times we were let off. When Finegan started to take us to the station I just pulled my gun and fired.” Evans was a paroled convict from Pontiac Reformatory. He was paroled only three months prior to Officer Finegan’s murder.
Officer Finegan was waked at his residence. His funeral mass was held at St. Rita of Cascia Church located at 6243 South Fairfield Avenue. He was laid to rest on March 31, 1926 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 3, Lot NS 24, Block 6, Section 6.
Patrolman Edward Charles Finegan, born May 6, 1898, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 7, 1922. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career.
Officer Finegan served in the U.S. Army from April 3, 1918 thru March 25, 1919 in Company K, 19th Infantry, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private. He was survived by his wife, Francis (nee Walsh); mother, Margaret (nee Larson) and sisters: Agnes Hoppenrath and Myrtle Berglind.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #8006.