Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 9 years, 5 months, 27 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 3 - South Wabash

District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy

Age at Time of Death: 37


Date of Birth: 29 Jul 1889

Date of Appointment: 18 Jun 1917

Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth

End of Watch: 15 Dec 1926

Date of Interment:


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Oak Woods Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
 Grave Location: Unknown
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-10

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 7

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 18

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 18-W: 3

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: U.S. Army


Incident & Biographic Details

Patrolman Julian Arthur Bonfield, Star #2310, aged 37 years, was a 9 year, 5 month, 27 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 3 – South Wabash.

On December 15, 1926, Two bandits, Elin Lyons and Willie Brown, held up 25 women and four men at the University Extension Conservatory located at 702 East 41st Street. Officer Bonfield was on patrol when he received reports of the robbery and rushed to the scene. He arrived on scene and at 9:10 a.m. encountered the robbers in front of the conservatory. One of the robbers had a fur coat, which he had stolen from one of the women inside, draped over his arm. Unbeknownst to Bonfield, the robber was holding a gun underneath that coat. When Officer Bonfield ordered the men to halt, the robber with the fur coat fired, the bullet ripping through the coat. The bullet struck Officer Bonfield in the neck. When the robbers saw that the officer was wounded, they fled the scene on foot. Officer Bonfield was rushed to Chicago Hospital, dying en route.

On December 16, 1926, Elin Lyons, a native of Columbia, South America was arrested and positively identified as the murderer. He confessed and implicated a black man, Willie Brown, as his accomplice. On December 22, 1926, Lyons was indicted and was later convicted of Patrolman Bonfield’s murder. On June 24, 1927, Lyons was executed by hanging at the Cook County Jail. Willie Brown was never apprehended.

Officer Bonfield was waked at his residence located at 7138 South South Chicago Avenue, his funeral mass was also held at his residence. He was laid to rest on December 18, 1926 in Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 East 67th Street, Chicago, Illinois.

Patrolman Julian Arthur Bonfield, born July 29, 1889, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 18, 1917 and was issued Star #3402. On September 27, 1917, he returned his star and left the Department on Military Furlough. On February 19, 1919, he returned from Military Furlough and was issued Patrolman Star #2310. He was the son of a retired police captain and the nephew of Inspector John Bonfield who commanded police during the Haymarket Riots.

Officer Bonfield served in the U.S. Army from September 18, 1917 thru February 6, 1919 in Company B, 331st Infantry, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private. He was survived by his wife, May D.; parents: Georgeana (nee Moran) and Martin L. and siblings: Agatha Schmidt, Claire Lesser, Harry L. and Marie Stuart.

Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7652.