Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 14 years, 8 months, 29 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 28th District - Austin
District of Incident (Present Day): 011 - Harrison
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 47
Date of Birth: 16 Jul 1884
Date of Appointment: 07 May 1917
Date of Incident: 011 - Harrison
End of Watch: 05 Feb 1932
Date of Interment: 08 Feb 1932
Cemetery: Mount Olive Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-3
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 10
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 32
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 19-E: 17
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Martin Knudson, Star #1457, aged 47 years, was a 14 year, 8 month, 29 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 28th District – Austin.
On February 5, 1932, at 6:20 p.m., Officer Knudson was detailed to guard cash collections being taken at a garage used by the Chicago Herald and Examiner as the circulation headquarters located at 856 North Trumbull Avenue. Junior newspaper carriers for the Chicago Evening American were in the process of paying their bills in the rear of the building. As Warren Strouts, the garage manager spoke with Stephen Brodin, age 15, a paper boy, a maroon auto with four occupants pulled up to the building Iowa Street entrance. Suddenly three of the passengers leapt from the car and entered the garage and announced a hold-up. With guns drawn, they ordered everyone inside to put their hands up. In an attempt to foil the robbery, Patrolman Knudson drew his revolver. Knudson had been sitting on a bench out of the bandits’ line of sight. A gun battle ensued with two of the bandits. Officer Knudson was hit but continued to advance emptying his revolver at their backs as the bandits fled the scene. The bandits got into the getaway car and sped off. Officer Knudson dropped his revolver and then collapsed to the floor. He was taken to Franklin Boulevard Hospital where he died at 8:20 p.m. after the attack.
Just before Patrolman Knudson died he repeatedly told hospital staff and fellow officers that he shot one of the robbers. At 8:30 p.m. police came upon an abandoned car matching the description of the getaway car in the rear of 3717 West Lexington Street. Inside they found James J. Stewart, age 18, dead with one gunshot wound. A revolver was also recovered on Stewart’s body. Stewart was later identified by his father who stated that his son was recently hired as a helper for the Red Line Trucking Enterprise. Ballistics showed the bullet that killed Stewart came from Patrolman Knudson’s service revolver. Ballistics on the recovered revolver showed the bullet that killed Officer Knudson came from Stewart’s revolver. On February 6, 1932, the Coroner recommended the arrest of Stewart’s accomplices. Only Frank Severina was apprehended in New York City. He was extradited, stood trial for the murder and was found guilty. On April 19, 1933, Severina was sentenced to life in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. The other accomplices were never apprehended.
Officer Knudson was waked at his residence located at 4820 North Kamerling Avenue. His funeral mass was held at John M. Pederson Funeral Home located at 4338-40 West Fullerton Avenue. He was laid to rest on February 8, 1932 in Mount Olive Cemetery, 3800 North Narragansett Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Martin Knudson, born July 16, 1884, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 7, 1917. He earned 3 Credible Mentions during his career.
Officer Knudson served in the U.S. Army from November 1, 1918 through December 23, 1918 and was Medically Discharged at the title of Recruit. He was survived by his wife, Sophie K. (nee Strom), age 38; children: Marion Gladys, age 10 and Martin Rolf, age 5 and sister, Greta Evensen.