Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 26 years, 11 months, 7 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 1st District - Central
District of Incident (Present Day): 018 - Near North
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 51
Date of Birth: 09 Dec 1901
Date of Appointment: 26 Apr 1926
Date of Incident: 018 - Near North
End of Watch: 02 Apr 1953
Date of Interment: 06 Apr 1953
Cemetery: Queen of Heaven Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot 37, Block 8, Section 28
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 12
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 47
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 38-E: 17
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman William Anthony Fuller, Star #3327, aged 51 years, was a 26 year, 11 month, 7 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 1st District – Central.
On April 2, 1953, Officer Fuller had just finished his shift as an Assistant Desk Sergeant. While off duty he stopped in at Mickey’s Liquor Mart located at 2316 North Clark Street. The officer, without realizing it, had stumbled into a robbery in progress. Officer Fuller sat down at the bar and was joined by a friend. One armed robber, James Boswell, Jr., age 25 of 822 North Trumbull Avenue, had previously entered the bar and was seated at the end of the “L“ shaped bar. Officer Fuller sat five stools away. Between them was Charles Burkart, a Brink’s Express Messenger. Within a few minutes Boswell’s two accomplices entered and one ordered two beers. The two men then went to the bathroom located in the back of the bar. As the bartender, Gordan Swahn, age 44, returned with the men’s change they exited the bathroom with guns drawn. It was at this time when Boswell stood up and placed a gun to Mr. Burkart’s back. Swahn was then taken to the rear of the tavern as the robbers emptied the register. Boswell then announced a robbery and ordered Burkhart to move away from the bar. At this point, Officer Fuller drew his revolver when Burkart moved from the line of fire and fired at Boswell. The two exchanged gunfire with each other at a distance of four feet. Both Officer Fuller and Boswell fell to the floor while the other two robbers fled the scene Southbound on Clark Street. Another customer, Nathan Pector, age 32, was also shot in the arm as the bandit fired at Officer Fuller. Officer Fuller was struck in the chest. Both Officer Fuller and James Boswell were transported to Augustana Hospital at 2035 N. Lincoln Avenue, where they were both pronounced dead on arrival.
Upon further investigation two wallets were found in Boswell’s pockets. One was his and the other belonged to Dorothy Perry, age 21, an acquaintance of Boswell. Information supplied by Perry helped detectives trace and arrest Boswell’s confederates, Robert Stanley, age 19 of 1619 West North Avenue and Salvatore LoSchiavo, age 19 of 709 North Grand Avenue. Sergeant Howard Pierson and Detective’s William Healy, James Cavanaugh and John Higgins of the Homicide Bureau, were on patrol when they recognized Stanley from a snapshot. Around 10:00 p.m. the same evening as the robbery, Stanley and LoSchiavo were arrested in the area of Grand Avenue and Halsted Street. LoSchiavo and Stanley insisted that the were only at the tavern to purchase beer, but were positively identified by three witnesses, Burkhart, Swahn and Martin Mulligan, age 45. Stanley and LoSchiavo eventually confessed their involvement in the robbery.
Robert Stanley and Salvatore LoSchiavo were charged and eventually indicted. On June 5, 1953, Salvatore LoSchiavo stood trial and was found not guilty. Robert Stanley’s case was dropped. Arrest records for Boswell revealed that he was release that year after serving four year sentence in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Pontiac for a series of gas station robberies.
Officer Fuller was waked at Thomas J. Ahern Funeral Home located at 3246 West Jackson Boulevard. His funeral mass was held at Our Lady Sorrows Basilica located at 3121 West Jackson Boulevard. He was laid to rest on April 6, 1953 in Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot 37, Block 8, Section 28.
Patrolman William Anthony Fuller, born December 9, 1901, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 26, 1926. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career. Fuller was posthumously awarded the Tribune Monthly Hero Award in September, 1965.
Officer Fuller was a member of the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Thelma Ruth (nee Beck), age 42; daughter, Mary Cecelia, age 17 and sisters: Agnes, Josephine, Loretta, Mrs. James Carroll, Mrs. Raymond Grace, Mrs. M. Ryan and Mrs. Frank Volopich.