Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years, 5 months, 23 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 38th District - Town Hall
District of Incident (Present Day): 018 - Near North
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 28
Date of Birth: 12 Dec 1899
Date of Appointment: 08 Jun 1922
Date of Incident: 018 - Near North
End of Watch: 01 Dec 1928
Date of Interment: 04 Dec 1928
Cemetery: Mount Carmel Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 1, Lot 22, Block 13, Section 26
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed
Military Service: U.S. Navy
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Thomas Patrick Geary, Star #2296, aged 28 years, was a 6 year, 5 month, 23 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 38th District – Town Hall.
On December 1, 1928, at 2:15 a.m., Officer Geary while off duty, with Patrolman Edwin P. Johnson were inside a speakeasy owned by State Representative Lawrence C. O’Brien, the Wells Smoke Shop, located at 920 North Wells Street. While seated on a stool at the bar next to Officer Johnson and Detective Thomas Hayes nearby, Officer Geary began to argue with the bartender, Henry J. Mullarkey, age 32. The argument was of a trivial nature concerning the relative importance of their respective Irish ancestors. Mullarkey then came from behind the bar, took the gun from Officer Johnson’s back pocket, and shot Geary behind the right ear without any apparent cause. Officer Geary died instantly and slumped over on his bar stool without falling off.
It was at this time Detective Hayes, member of a bureau squad, placed Mullarkey under arrest for the shooting. Back at the district station, Deputy Stege took Hayes, Johnson and Mullarkey into his office. Mullarkey was the first to be questioned. He stated that he wasn’t in the saloon and didn’t know anything about the shooting. While all three men were in the office being questioned by Stege, Officer Johnson began to tell his story. When asked by Stege, “Who were present,” Johnson hesitated. It was at this time Detective Hayes said, “Tell the whole truth, we’ve got to do it,” advising Officer Johnson. Johnson then said, “He, Detective Hayes, Edward Brannigan, a real estate dealer with offices at 77 West Washington Street, Gilbert ‘Ding’ White, who served a year in jail for vote fraud, a taxicab driver, his passenger whose name was not known, and Geary were seated in front of the bar.” Detective Hayes then took over after saying to Mullarkey, “I’m your friend but all your other friends are going to tell the truth. It’s the only way. It would have been better for you if I had knocked you off and I would have done it if I had known Red Geary was dead.”
Detective Hayes then told the rest of the story. Hayes said to Deputy Stege, “Mullarkey went out and got a gallon of wine. We sat there for a time drinking it and eating sandwiches.” He then said, “Brannigan and Geary were kidding Mullarkey about his Irish ancestors. Mullarkey was bragging that his brother Freddie was the second smartest kid ever turned out of St. Dominick’s school. Geary said, ‘Yes, and he’s a bank clerk; he and that young Mulvihill who was so smart at school and is now driving a cab are not as well off as I am and I wasn’t so much at school.’ That’s what must have started Mullarkey. My attention was turned from them for a moment and when I looked around Mullarkey had a gun at Geary’s head and he said, ‘You redheaded …!’ and then he fired. Johnson grappled with him and took the gun away from him and I yelled for nobody to leave the place, but they started running out all the doors. I told Johnson to call the station and then I started after Mullarkey and I got him at the basement door.”
Following the shooting, Officer Johnson and Detective Hayes were suspended pending a full investigation by Commissioner William F. Russell. For several hours after the shooting, there were attempts to cover it up which resulted in an order being issued demoting Captain George DeMar who commanded the district the shooting took place in. He was replaced by Captain Gregory F. Moran and a clean out of the East Chicago station was also ordered.
Mullarkey admitted that he had a criminal history as a youth in that he had been arrested once for robbery and twice for larceny. In 1919, he was also a policeman, but was discharged from the force by General Superintendent Charles C. Fitzmorris after his criminal background was learned. His name was also on federal records as the owner of the store at 918 North Wells Street which had been closed by a federal injunction on March 8, 1928. A petition was filed before Federal Judge Wilkerson, who authorized the reopening of the establishment. The judges authorization was predicated on the belief that Mullarkey was to use the business for a real estate office. When Mullarkey was arrested, he carried Star #285 of the Chicago Metropolitan Sanitary District Police Department of which he was a member.
On December 8, 1928, Henry Mullarkey was held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner. On January 9, 1930, Mullarkey was sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge J. Sullivan.
Officer Geary was laid to rest on December 4, 1928 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 1, Lot 22, Block 13, Section 26.
Patrolman Thomas Patrick Geary, born December 12, 1899, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 8, 1922.
Officer Geary served in the U.S. Navy from May 8, 1918 thru March 14, 1919, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Seaman 2nd Class.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #9999.