Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 16 years, 0 months, 6 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 4, 11th Precinct - Fiftieth Street
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 49
Date of Birth: 1854
Date of Appointment: 14 Jan 1888
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 20 Jan 1904
Date of Interment: 22 Jan 1904
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 9
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 34
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 63-E: 10
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Dennis C. Fitzgerald, Star #786, aged 49 years, was a 16 year, 0 month, 6 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 4, 11th Precinct – Fiftieth Street.
On September 26, 1903, Officer Fitzgerald observed two intoxicated men, John Johnson and Louis Tedford, creating a disturbance on the street at 44th Street and Indiana Avenue. Officer Fitzgerald remonstrated the men and commanded they move on. Officer Fitzgerald then turned to leave when Johnson and Telford attacked the officer. Johnson seized the officer’s club, and as he attempted to rise struck him on the head and again knocked him down. Both men kicked him. Officer Fitzgerald was attempting to arise again when Johnson took the officer’s revolver from his pocket and struck him on the head. Knocking him down again for a third time, and as he attempted to rise fired one shot, the bullet striking Officer Fitzgerald in the abdomen. Regaining his feet, Officer Fitzgerald grappled with Telford, and as he did so Johnson fired at him from behind, the bullet striking him in the right shoulder.
Both his assailants ran and were followed by the intrepid officer as far as 45th Street and Indiana Avenue where he collapsed, overcome by his injuries. By this time, the gunfire had attracted other officers, who quickly summoned the patrol wagon. Officer Fitzgerald was rushed to Mercy Hospital where he lingered for four months before succumbing to his injuries on January 20, 1904.
Louis Telford was arrested first at 3221 West Dearborn Street as he slept. During questioning, Telford confessed and fingered Johnson as the man who beat and shot Officer Fitzgerald. Telford claimed to have run away before Fitzgerald was shot, Johnson later rejoining him and saying, “I’ve got him and I’ve got his club, too.” John Johnson was later arrested at 2701 South State Street after being shot in the jaw by Newton Moody during another disturbance. Johnson had gone to a resort where he encountered Moody. Moody was upset at Johnson’s presence and shot him. As Johnson ran from the resort he dropped a revolver, the very same one he had taken from Officer Fitzgerald. Another policemen found him in a doorway and arrested him.
Both men were charged with Assault with Intent to Murder. While being held awaiting trial, Officer Fitzgerald died. On January 20, 1904, the Coroner’s Jury recommended Johnson and Telford be held without bail. On March 5, 1904, Johnson was sentenced to hang on December 14, 1904 and Telford to 14 years in Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. Johnson’s hanging was respited and he was hanged in the County Jail on January 20, 1905.
Officer Fitzgerald was waked at 4428 South Wabash Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Elizabeth Church located at 50 East 41st Street. He was laid to rest on January 22, 1904 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Dennis C. Fitzgerald, born in 1854, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on January 14, 1888.
Officer Fitzgerald was survived by his wife, Margaret, age 52.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #754.