Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 12 years, 3 months, 19 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 5, 12th Precinct - Woodlawn
District of Incident (Present Day): 003 - Grand Crossing
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 36
Date of Birth: 16 Feb 1870
Date of Appointment: 31 Jul 1894
Date of Incident: 003 - Grand Crossing
End of Watch: 19 Nov 1906
Date of Interment: 21 Nov 1906
Cemetery: St. James at Sag Bridge Cemetery - Lemont, Illinois
Grave Location: Section E
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 36
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 9-W: 4
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Luke John Fitzpatrick, Star #1084, aged 36 years, was a 12 year, 3 month, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 5, 12th Precinct – Woodlawn.
On November 19, 1906, at 1:25 a.m., Officer Fitzpatrick was passing the corner of 63rd Street and Madison Avenue (present day Dorchester Avenue). As he passed he was approached by the conductor of an incoming South Chicago electric car at the Dorchester Station of the Southside Elevated Railroad. The conductor stated that two men who had been passengers on the car had just entered the station located at 1400 East 63rd Street and had been overheard to say they had committed a burglary, blowing a safe in a Hammond, Indiana grocery store. Officer Fitzpatrick summoned Probationary Patrolman John J. Murphy and the officers then entered the elevated station. On sight of the officers the two men, Charles Hanson and Guy Van Tassell, commenced shooting. Officer Fitzpatrick sustained four gunshot wounds, one in the head and three in the abdomen. Meanwhile Officer Murphy was struck with some kind of instrument as he was passing the turnstile to aid Fitzpatrick, and his revolver was knocked from his hand. He hastened to call help and the murderers fled. Patrolman WilIiam H. Birch, who was attracted by the gunfire, ran up the stairs leading to the platform. Part way up the stairs he was fired upon by a man who was descending the same stairs and who afterward gave the name of Charles Hanson, one of Officer Fitzpatrick’s assailants. Officer Birch returned the fire, his bullet striking Hanson in the abdomen. He kept on running but was soon overtaken in a nearby alley and arrested by Officers Birch and J. H. Wilson. Officer Fitzpatrick was taken to St. Bernard Hospital where he died from the effect of his wounds at 5:45 a.m. the same day.
Guy Van Tassell, age 34, who had been Hanson’s companion in the shooting, escaped and was a fugitive from justice until he was arrested. Hanson, while seriously injured, recovered from his wounds and stood trial for murder. Investigation proved that these two desperadoes had committed the burglary in Hammond, several hundred dollars’ worth of the proceeds of which was found in Hanson’s possession, which was later identified and returned to the owner.
Charles Hanson had served time in five different prisons for several robberies, thefts, burglaries, and safe cracking. He was convicted of Patrolman Fitzpatrick’s murder and sentenced to life in prison on May 2, 1907.
On November 23, 1906, Hanson was held by Coroner’s Jury. On April 30, 1907, Hanson was sentenced to life in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge Kersten. On June 29, 1907, Guy Van Tassell was arrested in San Francisco and brought back to Chicago. On December 5, 1907, Van Tassell was found guilty by a jury in Judge Kersten’s court. On December 10, 1907, he was also sentenced to life in Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet.
On January 4, 1947, Charles Hanson was released from prison. The judge who ordered his release stated that his constitutional right to have a speedy trial had been violated because more than four terms of court passed before he was tried for Patrolman Fitzpatrick’s murder.
Officer Fitzpatrick was waked at his residence located at No. 6040 South Evans Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Holy Cross Church located at 4541 South Wood Street. He was laid to rest on November 21, 1906 in St. James at Sag Bridge Cemetery, 10600 South Archer Avenue, Lemont, Illinois. His Grave is located in Section E.
Patrolman Luke John Fitzpatrick, born February 16, 1870, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on July 31, 1894.
Officer Fitzpatrick was a member of the Emery A. Storrs Council No. 1071, Royal Arcanum. He was survived by his siblings: Dennis, James J., Theresa and Mrs. Catherine Sweeney.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #771.
On October 14, 1910, Officer Fitzpatrick’s star was retired by General Superintendent LeRoy T. Steward and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, City Hall, 121 North LaSalle Street, Room 505, Office of the Superintendent of Police. Officer Shea’s star was one of fourteen stars added to the newly instituted memorial to preserve the memory of officers killed in the line of duty. The tradition of retiring a star number was born. In 1928, the star case was moved to the 4th floor Office of the Superintendent at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. The Honored Star Case was later relocated to the lobby of Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters again moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Fitzpatrick’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.