Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 16 years, 11 months, 5 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 1st District - Central Detail
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 40
Date of Birth: 04 Apr 1887
Date of Appointment: 04 Mar 1911
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 09 Feb 1928
Date of Interment: 13 Feb 1928
Cemetery: Calvary Cemetery - Evanston, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 24, Block 32, Section S
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-11
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 6
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 22
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 25-E: 3
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Eugene Joseph Keegan, Star #571, aged 40 years, was a 16 year, 11 month, 5 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 1st District – Central Detail.
On February 9, 1928, at 1:40 p.m., Officer Keegan and Lieutenant Edward T. Murphy went to the 3rd floor apartment of a gunman, Rose Elliott, located at 131 East 35th Street, who was wanted for murder.
The tale of events began earlier in the day. Elliott, had murdered two employees, James Ellis and Charles Miller, at the Omaha Packing Company plant located at 2320 South Halsted Street. Elliott had been an employee at the plant until he was fired on October 6, 1927 after being involved in a fight with Ellis. Elliott held a grudge over the fight for four months. With his anger boiling over he waited outside the plant for James Ellis. When Ellis showed up, Elliot confronted him and a verbal altercation ensued. With the argument getting heated, Elliott produced a large caliber semi-automatic firearm and shot Ellis. Elliot also shot Charles Miller, another plant employee, who was with Elliot at the time of the altercation. Elliott then fled to the home of his brother, Nathan where he was located by police.
Upon arrival at the apartment, Lieutenant Murphy and Officer Keegan were met by three other officers. The three assisting officers covered the entrances as Lieutenant Murphy and Officer Keegan knocked on the door. Elliott’s brother opened the door and said that his brother was not in the home, but rolled his eyes signaling the officers toward a closed door inside the apartment. Officer Murphy thrust open the door and Elliott immediately opened fire. Both Lieutenant Murphy and Officer Kegan sustained multiple gunshot wounds and were killed almost instantly. Hearing the gunshots, the three assisting officers rushed into the apartment and concentrated their fire on Rose Elliot. Rose Elliott was struck multiple times and died on scene. Nathan Elliott, Rose’s brother, was shot accidentally by one of the three officers when he stepped into the crossfire. Nathan Elliott died from his gunshot wounds the next day on February 10, 1928.
Officer Keegan was waked at his residence located at 1810 North Mansfield Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Angela Catholic Church located at 5758 West Potomac Avenue. He was laid to rest on February 13, 1928 in Calvary Cemetery, 301 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. His grave is located 2nd from the South Line in Lot 24, Block 32, Section S.
Patrolman Eugene Joseph Keegan, born April 4, 1887, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 4, 1911. He earned 1 Credible Mention and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $240.00 during his career.
Officer Keegan served in the U.S. Army in Company K, 107th Infantry, was a veteran or World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private 1st Class. He was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association and Americus Council No. 1270 Knights of Columbus. Officer Keegan was survived by his father, Bryan and siblings: Anna, Bernard and Elizabeth.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #10298.