Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 2 years, 1 month, 15 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 8, 20th Precinct - New City
District of Incident (Present Day): 008 - Chicago Lawn
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 30
Date of Birth: 03 Dec 1879
Date of Appointment: 12 Mar 1908
Date of Incident: 008 - Chicago Lawn
End of Watch: 27 Apr 1910
Date of Interment:
Cemetery: St. Joseph New Cemetery - Cincinatti, Ohio
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 3
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 39
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 18-E: 3
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Patrick Melia, Star #2243, aged 30 years, was a 2 year, 1 month, 15 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 8, 20th Precinct – New City.
On April 27, 1910, at 12:10 a.m., Officer Melia was patrolling the Santa Fe Railroad yard at 49th Street and Lawndale Avenue when he encountered three thieves, Steve Zacek, Steve Arth and Joseph Pribela, stealing merchandise from train cars. One of the thieves raised a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun from under his coat and fired, striking Officer Melia. Officer Melia was riddled with buckshot and died at the scene.
On May 18, 1910, Steve Zacek was arrested for Officer Melia’s murder. Steve Orth and Joseph Pribela were arrested and held as accessories. On May 19, 1910, Zacek, after confessing to the crime and implicating Orth, committed suicide, by hanging, in his cell at the 19th Precinct – Stockyards Station. Orth was tried and sentenced to life in Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet and Pribela was sentenced to 25 years. A fourth suspect, Joe Flash was also sought and later arrested. On October 10, 1910, the case against Flash was abated by a plea deal after he died in Iowa before being questioned.
Officer Melia was waked at his residence located at 6953 South Union Avenue. He was laid to rest in St. Joseph New Cemetery, 4500 Foley Road, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Patrolman Patrick Melia, born December 3, 1879, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 12, 1908.
Officer Melia was survived by his fiancée, Anna Connolly.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #1620.
On October 14, 1910, Officer Melia’s star was retired by General Superintendent LeRoy T. Steward and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, City Hall, 121 North LaSalle Street, Room 505, Office of the Superintendent of Police. Officer Shea’s star was one of fourteen stars added to the newly instituted memorial to preserve the memory of officers killed in the line of duty. The tradition of retiring a star number was born. In 1928, the star case was moved to the 4th floor Office of the Superintendent at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. The Honored Star Case was later relocated to the lobby of Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters again moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Melia’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.