Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 1 year, 2 months, 17 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 2-A - Stanton
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Friendly
Age at Time of Death: 29
Date of Birth: 16 Mar 1898
Date of Appointment: 14 Sep 1926
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 01 Dec 1927
Date of Interment: 05 Dec 1927
Cemetery: Aurora Township Cemetery - Aurora, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 14
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 22
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 28-E: 3
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Vincent A. Gillespie, Star #5606, aged 29 years, was a 1 year, 2 month, 17 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 2-A – Stanton, detailed to Commissioner Michael Hughes’ Vice and Gambling Detail.
On November 29, 1927, Officer Gillespie was fatally shot in the back at 36th Street and Indiana Avenue. Officer Gillespie drove his own auto to St. Luke Hospital located on South Michigan Avenue where he died two days later on the morning of December 1, 1927.
The details of the incident were a mystery. Before he died, he had regained consciousness long enough to tell Lieutenant Michael Grady the course of events that led to his stabbing. Officer Gillespie told the Lieutenant that two African Americans had shot him while at 31st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. However further investigation after his death led to a different story. Gillespie’s wife stepped forward and reported that her husband had called for her before he died. When she went to see him, he told her what really transpired. She reported the facts to Frank J. Loesch, who was in charge of the Coroner’s Grand Jury.
The real story of Officer Gillespie’s murder transpired as follows. According to Mrs. Gillespie, a Detective Sergeant whom he refused to name shot Vincent. The two policemen were at a “resort” located at 36th Street and Indiana Avenue when they had a verbal altercation. Near the end of the quarrel Gillespie tore his police star from his coat and spat at the Detective Sergeant. Gillespie said, “Here, you can take this right to your ‘higher up’ for all I care,” he said referring to the star he had torn off before storming away. According to a witness, the Detective Sergeant then drew his firearm and shot Officer Gillespie as he walked away, striking him in the back.
At the time of the incident, the investigation of the case was the responsibility of the State’s Attorney’s Office. However, due to a major election fraud investigation concerning fraudulent voting, at the time, the State’s Attorney turned the investigation over to the Police Department, which was unable to solve the murder. The Coroner’s verdict was that Officer Gillespie’s murder occurred in the discharge of his duty as a police officer. The Coroner recommended the arrest of the unknown Detective Sergeant, for murder. Unfortunately, the Detective Sergeant was never identified and hence never arrested nor prosecuted.
Officer Gillespie was waked at a funeral home located at 113 South St, Louis Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica located at 3121 West Jackson Boulevard. He was laid to rest on December 5, 1927 in Aurora Township Cemetery, Wabansia Avenue and Fourth Street, Aurora, Illinois.
Patrolman Vincent A. Gillespie, born March 16, 1898, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 14, 1926.
Officer Gillespie served in the U.S. Army in Company 23, General Service Infantry and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private. He was survived by his wife, Emma (nee Fantar); father, Edward S., Sr. and siblings: Bernard, Francis J., James J., John, Joseph and Mary J. He was preceded in death by his brother, Edward S., Jr.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #8149.