Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 11 years, 11 months, 21 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 18th District - East Chicago
District of Incident (Present Day): 018 - Near North
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 37
Date of Birth: 23 Sep 1926
Date of Appointment: 21 Sep 1953
Date of Incident: 018 - Near North
End of Watch: 11 Sep 1964
Date of Interment: 14 Sep 1964
Cemetery: St. Joseph Cemetery - River Grove, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave --, Lot E3' of S 1/2 of 1, Block 08, Section Q
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed
Military Service: Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman William Henry Neven, Sr., Star #1892, aged 37 years, was an 11 year, 11 month, 21 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 18th District – East Chicago.
On September 11, 1964, at 3:00 a.m., Officer Neven was off duty in Tommy O’Brien’s Tavern located at 644 N. State Street. He was disarmed and shot in the head with his service revolver, a Smith & Wesson 38 Special, by Tony Miranda, age of 829 North LaSalle Street.
The incident began to unfold at the Stateway Tavern located at 714 North State Street. Officer Neven was inside the bar and observed Anthony “Tony” Miranda going into the pockets of a patron. Before approaching Miranda, Officer Nevens went to his vehicle and put on his police uniform and then went back inside the tavern. At the same time the bartender, Robert L. O’Rourke, age 38, of 8 West Erie Street, grabbed his blackjack and called Miranda out along with Officer Neven. Neven became belligerent and was informed he was under arrest. Officer Nevens escorted him from the tavern. Five minutes later Officer Nevens and Miranda reentered the tavern. Mr. O’Rourke asked Officer Nevens what happened and Nevens replied, “I gave him a break and turned him loose.” All seemed well, but ten minutes later Miranda threatened to kill Mr. O’Rourke. At this point Officer Nevens instructed Miranda to leave and go sleep it off. Nevens then left the tavern without incident. A few minutes later the bartender informed Officer Nevens and another patron, William Schwarz, age 37, of 20 West Delaware Street, that he was closing up. The two men then agreed to meet up at Tommy O’Brien’s Tavern along with Mr. O’Rourke.
Officer Nevens and Mr. Schwarz arrived at the tavern and observed Tony Miranda already inside. They both sat down at the bar across from each other. Schwarz sat next to Miranda. Miranda then asked Schwarz what he had to say to Nevens. Schwarz replied, “None of your business.” Miranda then became combative at which time Officer Nevens came around the bar and asked Miranda to leave. At this time Schwarz said, “forget it, i’ll leave.” He then went to Big Jims Tavern located at 638 N. State Street. Shortly thereafter Miranda would also leave. Several minutes later, fearing that this wasn’t over, Officer Nevens left O’Briens and went to check on Schwarz at Big Jims Tavern. Five minutes after Mr. Schwartz arrived at Big Jims, Miranda stormed through the door and threatened to kill him. Officer Nevens then walked in and seeing this said to Miranda, “I told you to go home, why don’t you go home?” An argument ensued and several cases of beer and pop bottles got tossed around in a scuffle. The bartender, Louie, and Mr. Schwartz then assisted Officer Nevens in gaining control of Miranda. After ushering Miranda out of the tavern, Officer Miranda told Mr. Schwartz to meet him back at Tommy O’Briens.
Officer Nevens arrived back at Tommy O’Brien’s and as he entered he exchanged pleasantries with Mrs. Pauline Yates, age 37, of 617 North Dearborn Street, of whom he friendly with. She was seated near the phone booth at the back of the bar. Officer Nevens then noticed Miranda was back in the bar inside the phone booth. He grabbed Nevens and removed him from the phone booth. A struggle ensued and the two began rolling around on the floor knocking over a bar stool. Miranda had disarmed Officer Nevens during the struggle and fired two to three shots. One of the rounds struck Officer Nevens in the head above his right eye. Miranda then got up and began waving the gun at the patrons in the bar.
Police were called and beat 1819, Officers Chester J. Dombrowski #2183 and Elvin C. Gore #4279 were dispatched to a call of Disturbance with a Gun by the CC. Upon arrival they observed Vice Officers John A. Cello, Jr. #5231, Salvatore M. Mascolino #4705 and John C. Volland, Jr. #10828 rushing into the tavern. Moments before the officers had observed Miranda in the doorway of the tavern holding a gun in his right hand. As Mirand started to back into the tavern, he yelled at the patrons to, “Stay where you are.” Officer Volland rushed the doorway and grabbed hold of Miranda’s arm pushing up against a wall. A struggle ensued and as Miranda attempted to lower the gun to fire, Officer Volland fired one round. Miranda was struck in the left side, the round exiting the right back. He was then taken into custody without further incident. At this time the bartender, Al Garcia, age 34, of 15 East Erie Street, informed the officers that there was a police officer shot in the back of the bar. They ran to the back of the bar and discovered Officer Neven lying face down on the floor unresponsive. He was transported to Henrotin Hospital by Beat 170 and was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Turbow at 3:10 a.m. on September 11, 1964. Miranda was also transported to Henrotin Hospital by beat 1870 and was listed in critical condition.
All witnesses were transported to the 18th District for statements. It was learned through interviews that Officer Neven had donned his police uniform to confront Miranda and that Miranda was aware he was a police officer at the time of the incident.
On October 2, 1962, a Coroner’s Inquest was convened. Per Deputy Coroner Dempsey the inquest was continued to October 13, 1964 as Tony Miranda was unable to attend Miranda was confined in the Bridewell Hospital and his physical condition would not permit his attendance. On October 22, 1964, Miranda was held over to the Grand Jury by the Coroner’s Jury, recommending indictment for Murder. Judge Ryan ordered Miranda held without bond. On October 23, 1964, the Grand Jury issued a True Bill. The trial was scheduled to begin on July 13, 1965 and all involved parties were advised that new subpoenas were to be issued. After receiving no subpoenas Detective Thomas J. Creighton, Jr. #11111 contacted ASA Houlihan on July 21, 1965 and was informed that the matter was nolle prossed. The date of disposition is unknown.
Officer Neven was waked at William C. Smith & Sons Funeral Home located at 2500 North Cicero Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Grace Church located at 2450 North Ridgeway Avenue. He was laid to rest on September 14, 1964 in St. Joseph Cemetery, 3100 North Thatcher Avenue, River Grove, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave –, Lot E3′ of S 1/2 of 1, Block 08, Section Q.
Patrolman William Henry Neven, Sr., born September 23, 1926, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 21, 1953 and was issued Star #1892.
Officer Neven was a member of the Chicago Patrolmen’s Association, Illinois Police Association and the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Dorothy (nee Rudnik), age 28; children: William Henry, Jr., age 12, Brian, age 3, Doreen, age 6, Mary-Rose, age 8, Michael, age 10, Nancy, age 5, Patricia, age 6 months and Thomas, age 11; mother, Anna and siblings: James, John, Joseph, Loyola Woicik, Nick, Mary Elwood, Patricia and Therese McLorraine. He was preceded in death by his father, John.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #C290551.