Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years, 4 months, 17 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 36th District - Hudson
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 34
Date of Birth: 19 Jan 1905
Date of Appointment: 23 Dec 1932
Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall
End of Watch: 10 May 1939
Date of Interment: 13 May 1939
Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 4, Lot 309, Block 6, Section 7
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 8
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 41
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 10-W: 6
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Philip J. Kelly, Star #6161, aged 34 years, was a 6 year, 4 month, 17 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 36th District – Hudson.
On May 3, 1939, Officer Kelly, while off duty in plain clothes, was in a tavern, the Eastwood Inn located at 4623 North Western Avenue. Officer Kelly was sitting at the bar with another off duty officer, Patrolman Kelly McIntyre and his wife. As Officer McIntyre was talking with an undertaker, Alex Ferguson, the bandits, Edward Riley and Orville Watson, entered the tavern a few minutes apart and sat at the bar between the two officers. The two bandits, after ordering beers, stood up and announced a robbery. Officer McIntyre immediately moved away from his wife and reached for his gun but it was stuck in his holster. The bandits, seeing him reach for his gun, opened fire and struck McIntyre, Kelly and Ferguson. McIntyre freed his gun and returned fire along with Officer Kelly. The bartender, Harry Bonin, slipped out a side door and ran for help. When Bonin returned to the tavern after summoning help, he encountered the bandits. Riley was holding up Watson who had been shot in the back by McIntyre. When Riley saw Bonin he attempted to shoot him but his gun was empty. Realizing the gun was empty, Riley and Watson made good their escape.
Bonin then went inside the tavern and discovered a gruesome scene. Ferguson was struck and instantly killed. Officer McIntyre was struck by a bullet in his right temple which then exited his left temple. Officer Kelly was shot in the right shoulder, abdomen and right wrist. Both officers were transported to Ravenswood Hospital. Officer Kelly desperately needed a blood transfusion after losing a large amount. Patrolman Larry Dellamria donated blood for the transfusion. Officer Kelly languished for seven days in the hospital succumbing to his wounds on May 10, 1939. Officer Kelly’s father, brothers and friend Miss Marion Klauk were all with him as he took his last breath. Officer McIntyre, despite doctors’ refusal to predict his survivability, beat all expectations of survival and recovered from his injuries.
After the shootout the gunmen, Riley and Watson, summoned a doctor from his home and forced him at gunpoint to go with them to their apartment and remove the bullet from Watson. The next day the suspects fled to Michigan. On the same day Officer Kelly died, they were captured outside of Detroit, Michigan by Chief of Detectives John L. Sullivan who brought them back to Chicago. Chief Sullivan also arrested Susana Smith and brought her back as well. On June 19, 1939, Riley and Watson both entered pleas of guilty in the death of Alex Ferguson. They were both sentenced to death in the electric chair to be carried out on July 7, 1939. Their sentences were suspended pending an appeal to the Supreme Court during its October session. The court upheld the convictions and on June 20, 1941 the men’s sentences were carried out.
Officer Kelly was waked at his residence located at 4730 North Virginia Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Queen of Angels Catholic Church located at 2330 West Sunnyside Avenue. He was laid to rest on May 13, 1939 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 4, Lot 309, Block 6, Section 7.
Patrolman Philip J. Kelly, born January 19, 1905, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on December 23, 1932.
Officer Kelly was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his father, John P. and siblings: Edwin V., Harold R. and Marion L. Collins.