Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 11 years, 6 months, 19 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 2-A - Stanton
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 42
Date of Birth: 06 Apr 1882
Date of Appointment: 05 Jun 1913
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 24 Dec 1924
Date of Interment: 24 Dec 1924
Cemetery: Evergreen Memorial Cemetery - Bloomington, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-8
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 21
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 13
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3-W: 15
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman William Holmes, Star # 4042, aged 42 years, was an 11 year, 6 month, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 2-A – Stanton.
On December 24, 1924, at 12:40 a.m., Officer Holmes was walking his beat with his partner, Patrolman Jesse McKinney, when they responded to a robbery on 37th Street. The victim, a woman, stated that two black men who had guns robbed her. While walking the area in search of the robbers, the officers spotted two men attempting to burglarize a home on 37th Street approximately 70 feet east of Prairie Avenue. Officers Holmes and McKinney then attempted to place them under arrest. The suspects resisted, displayed revolvers, and fired. Officer Holmes was struck and mortally wounded while Officer McKinney was also shot. The gunmen then fled the scene.
As the shooting was taking place, Sergeants Roscoe Johnson and John Scott heard the gunfire and ran to the scene. Officer McKinney lying wounded pointed toward a basement in which the suspects had taken refuge. The Sergeants ran to the building as the suspects began firing. Three rounds just missed Sergeant Johnson as he continued to advance, firing his gun. His rounds met their mark and struck one of the suspects four times. During the gun battle the second bandit made good his escape. The Sergeants moved in and placed the man in custody. He gave his name as George Williams of Altoona, Florida. Officer Holmes was taken to Wilson Hospital where he died a few hours later. Officer McKinney was taken to Michael Reese Hospital where he was near death. McKinney was treated and eventually recovered surviving the incident. Williams was transported to Provident Hospital where he died a short while later.
On June 22, 1925 a murder suspect, Herman Copeland, who had been involved in the May 21, 1918 killings of three lawmen: Officer John A. Conrad and Lieutenant David T. Dunigan of the Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia; and Deputy Sheriff Lawrence H. McParlin of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland; was hanged in Washington DC. The suspect claimed to have committed 12 murders, including a policeman in Chicago, possibly Officer Holmes. It was believed he may have been the second gunman to escape.
Patrolman Holmes was laid to rest on December 24, 1924 in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, 302 East Miller Street, Bloomington, Illinois.
Patrolman William Holmes, born April 6, 1882, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 5, 1913. He earned 6 Credible Mentions during his career. Prior to joining the Chicago Police Department Holmes was a ST. Fireman.
Officer Holmes was survived by his wife, Mary.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7480.