Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 32 years, 0 months, 3 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 21st District - Scotland Yards
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Struck - By Vehicle
Age at Time of Death: 63
Date of Birth: 28 Mar 1866
Date of Appointment: 18 Oct 1897
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 21 Oct 1929
Date of Interment: 24 Oct 1929
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot N38, Block 12, Section D
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 8
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Thomas Francis Murtha, Star #2766, aged 63 years, was a 32 year, 0 month, 3 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 21st District – Scotland Yards.
On October 21, 1929, at 10:25 a.m., Officer Murtha was on duty and detailed to traffic duty at the north approach to the Halsted Street lift bridge. The bridge was located over the south branch of the Chicago River. Officer Murtha was standing in the middle of the street directing traffic and as the bridge was about to raise an automobile struck him. John T. Yagen, who it was alleged, had been drinking, drove the auto. Officer Murtha was severely injured and sustained a skull fracture. He was transported to People’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead on October 21, 1929.
On October 22, 1929, Yagen was held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner and indicted for manslaughter. On March 13, 1931, Yagen stood trial and was acquitted by Judge Fisher.
Officer Murtha’s funeral mass was held at St. Rose of Lima Church. He was laid to rest on October 24, 1929 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois. His grave is located 4 in on 3 in Lot N38, Block 12, Section D. On May 23, 1933, a notation was made in the cemetery record indicating F S Hall Bourne 8 Fall Mass.
Patrolman Thomas Francis Murtha, born March 28, 1866, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 18, 1897. On August 15, 1907, he was transferred from Patrol Driver to Patrolman.
Officer Murtha was a member of the Newman Court Knights of Columbus. He was survived by his children: Mary Host and Anna Schultz. He was preceded in death by his wife, Anna Carroll McKnight, age 65 and son, Michael.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #10569.