Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 7 months, 13 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 13th District - Morgan Park
District of Incident (Present Day): 022 - Morgan Park
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Friendly (Accidental)
Age at Time of Death: 24
Date of Birth: 23 Sep 1932
Date of Appointment: 01 Sep 1956
Date of Incident: 022 - Morgan Park
End of Watch: 14 Apr 1957
Date of Interment: 17 Apr 1957
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 730, Block --, Section JK
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-3
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 5
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 3
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 60-E: 16
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman James Edward Mitchell, Star #9840, aged 24 years, was a 7 month, 13 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 13th District – Morgan Park.
On April 14, 1957, Officer Mitchell and his partner, Patrolman Henry Jelderks, responded to a call of “man with a gun, shots fired“ at 1309 West 109th Street. Upon their arrival they learned that the offender, Lee Foster, age 39 of 1322 West 110th Street, had left the scene in his car, a two-tone 1953 Mercury, which they later observed parked in front of Foster’s home at 1322 West 110th Place. Foster was still seated in the car and seeing the police Foster sped away. In the ensuing chase Foster threw a .22 caliber gun from his car and then stopped his auto and fled on foot, Officers Mitchell and Jelderks cornered the man at 1322 West 110th Place. As Officer Jelderks was taking Lee into custody, Officer Mitchell held his gun on Foster. Officer Jelderks had pulled his gun and struck Foster over the head with it. As he did so the gun went off and the errant round struck Officer Mitchell fatally wounding him. Officer Mitchell was transported to Roseland Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Fosters weapon was later recovered approximately 50 feet from the scene of the shooting.
The incident started as Foster was being evicted from 1313 West 109th Street, where he had been visiting. Witnesses said that after Foster started to his car, he turned around and fired his gun in the direction of Miss Evelyn Nichols and Fred Hawkins who had put foster out of the house. The police were called and Officers Mitchell and Jelderks responded.
Lee Foster was arrested and held to a Coroner’s Jury. During the investigation, a Coroner’s jury ruled that Foster caused the accidental shooting by resisting arrest and recommended he be held to the Grand Jury for manslaughter. Foster was ordered held on a $2,500 bond when he appeared before Chief Justice Wilbert F. Crowley on a writ. Foster had suffered a laceration to the scalp from the blow.
Officer Mitchell was waked at Heeney Funeral Home located at 2104 West 95th Street. His funeral mass was held at Little Flower Catholic Parish Church located at 8000 South Wood Street. He was laid to rest on April 17, 1957 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, 3801 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot 730, Block –, Section JK.
Patrolman James Edward Mitchell, born September 23, 1932, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 1, 1956.
Officer Mitchell was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Jean (nee Fisher); children: Edward, Josephine and Leo; parents: Edward Leo and Josephine (nee Condon) and siblings: Kathleen and Robert J.