Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 14 years, 2 months, 5 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 37th District - Sheffield
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Location of Occurrence:
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 47
Date of Birth: 25 Dec 1882
Date of Appointment: 25 Oct 1915
Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall
End of Watch: 30 Dec 1929
Date of Interment: 04 Jan 1930
Cemetery: Calvary Cemetery - Evanston, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 19, Block 5, Section A
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 24
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 26
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 21-E: 8
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Michael Thomas Langan, Star #4860, aged 47 years, was a 14 year, 2 month, 5 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 37th District – Sheffield.
On December 30, 1929, at 11:45 p.m., Officer Langan while on duty was inside Roy Schwartz’s “Soda Parlor” located at 2745 North Ashland Avenue when he observed four holdup men who, upon entering, posed as police officers. The men then drew revolvers and announced a robbery. Langan was in civilian clothes and knew the bandits were not fellow officers. Officer Langan cut his conversation short with Mr. Schwartz as he observed the fake badges and guns the bandits were brandishing. In an attempt to frustrate the robbery, Langan approached the men as they backed up into a cluster near the door. Before Langan could fully draw his weapon the bandits fired on him. He was struck three times before firing his gun once then collapsing to the floor. The first bullet struck him in the left ear before passing through his head. The second bullet struck him in the forehead and the third bullet hit his right shoulder before passing through. The bandits then fled the scene dragging one of their accomplices to a waiting car. The bandits then fled in the automobile speeding northbound on Ashland Avenue making good their escape. Sergeant Victor Eck and Detectives John Lagatutti and Frank Patterson were dispatched from the Sheffield Avenue station to the “Soda Parlor.” Upon arrival, the officers transported Officer Langan to Alexian Brothers Hospital, dying en route, and was pronounced dead on arrival on December 30, 1929.
Mr. Schwartz, in a statement, stated that Officer Langan must have hit one of the bandits because they were pretty much stationary targets the way they were all bunched up by the door. He also stated that he believed he could identify the four bandits because they were the same ones who had robbed him the month prior of $1,200.00 and shot a different officer who was in the shop.
Early the next morning police were searching the area and discovered the body of John Dillard in the alley behind 1444 North Kedzie Avenue. It was believed that his confederates dumped Dillard there as they fled the scene. There was also speculation that Dillard stepped into the line of his confederates’ fire and was shot because it could not be proven that Langan had ever fully drawn his weapon. Dillard was found to be an ex-convict and the only bandit to be identified. He was blamed for Officer Langan’s murder even though that fact could never be substantiated. The other gunmen were never apprehended and are still at large.
Officer Langan was laid to rest on January 4, 1930 in Calvary Cemetery, 301 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave –, Lot 19, Block 5, Section A.
Patrolman Michael Thomas Langan, born December 25, 1882, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 25, 1915. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career. Officer Langan had returned to duty on the day of his murder after a five-day bout of influenza. Coincidentally he had also been shot months before in a gun battle with another bandit. He was also severely beaten three years before during a riot at the Lincoln Turner Hall located at Diversey Parkway and Lincoln Avenue.
Officer Langan was survived by his wife, Lillian (nee Norris), age 29 and children: Geraldine Bridget, age 1 and Martin Thomas, age 2.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #10465.