Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years, 7 months, 5 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 41st District - Rogers Park
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 32
Date of Birth: 30 Jun 1896
Date of Appointment: 26 Oct 1922
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 31 May 1929
Date of Interment: 03 Jun 1929
Cemetery: Memorial Park Cemetery - Skokie, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-12
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 16
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 25
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2-W: 17
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Herbert Nelson Hagberg, Star #1028, aged 32 years, was a 6 year, 7 month, 5 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 41st District – Rogers Park.
On May 31, 1929, at 2:10 p.m., Officer Hagberg and his partners, Patrolmen John L. Conley and Joseph J. Murphy, responded to a call of a domestic disturbance at 2431 West Thomas Street. They were given strict orders to quell the disturbance or take the man into custody if he would not calm down. They were to investigate a report that Ferdinand Preuss had shot at his wife in a crazed drunken fit. Pruess was known to the officers as a World War I veteran with expert marksmen skills which were noted on his service record.
As the officers arrived on scene, Officer’s Hagberg and Conley exited the squad car while Officer Murphy kept watch while the two survey the situation. Hagberg and Conley made their way and approached the one and a half story residence. They entered the passageway between the front and rear residences and crept to the rear of the house. Approximately 20 feet into the passageway Officer Conley came to the corner of the house cautiously turned left. He located a window at eye level and after making sure he heard no sounds coming from inside, peered through the window shading his eyes in order to see into the darkened room.
Without warning, Preuss fired a blast thru the window with his pump shotgun. Patrolmen Conley was struck and his body was propelled backwards his arms being thrown back from the blast. As Conley fell to the ground, Officer Hagberg could see a gaping wound in his chest. Officer Hagberg, being close behind Conley, rushed over to rescue him when another shotgun blast was heard. Officer Conley was struck in the face. Moving his hands to his face, he discovered that a portion of his face had been blown off. Frantic, he ran screaming approximately 15 feet before he collapsed to the sidewalk.
Patrolman Murphy, hearing the gunfire rushed to the scene, along with concerned neighbors. As he rounded the corner of the building Pruess opened fire at him and anyone who came near. Officer Murphy was struck by gunfire along with John Chorazak and two other bystanders. Pruess then made good his escape, but not for long.
Pruess fled from the residence three miles to the rail yard of the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company. The next morning, he was discovered on the tracks in front of 4245 West Kinzie Street. His body was decapitated by a train. It was believed by investigators that Pruess took his own life by jumping into the path of a train.
It was later learned that Ferdinand Preuss had also shot his wife. John Chorazek was also killed and Officer Murphy was seriously injured but later recovered. The two other bystanders were also injured and later recovered as well.
Officer Hagberg was waked at a chapel located at 4815 North Robey Street (present day Damen Avenue), his funeral mass was also held in the chapel. He was laid to rest on June 3, 1929 in Memorial Park Cemetery, 9900 Gross Point Road, Skokie, Illinois.
Patrolman Herbert Nelson Hagberg, born June 30, 1896, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 26, 1922. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career.
Officer Hagberg served in the U.S. Army from August 28th, 1918 thru April 23, 1919 in the 3rd Company, 161st Depot Brigade, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private 1st Class. He was also a member of the Harold A. Taylor Post No. 47 American Legion. Officer Hagberg was survived by his wife, Margaret (nee Calto); parents: Anna C. (nee Swanson) and Nelson N. and siblings: Colvin, Harriet N. and Henry.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #10135.