Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 5 years, 7 months, 27 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 9, 21st Precinct - Maxwell
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Aggravated Battery - Stabbed
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 14 Jun 1878
Date of Appointment: 23 Mar 1906
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 19 Nov 1911
Date of Interment: 22 Nov 1911
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 11
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 John O’Connell, Star # Unknown, aged 33 years, was a 5 year, 7 month, 27 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 9, 21st Precinct – Maxwell
On April 16, 1911, Officer O’Connell was on duty and working with his partner, Patrolman Michael Sheehan. While on patrol they observed a group of approximately thirty Italians at Taylor and Halsted Streets. The group was causing a disturbance and the officers ordered it to disperse. The group refused and became riotous, threatening the officers as they went across the street to call for reinforcements. While at the patrol box, the crowd became violent and began to attack Officer O’Connell. Officer Sheehan came to his partners aid and both officers sustained multiple lacerations in the encounter. Officer O’Connell sustained lacerations and stab wounds to the face and neck. Officer Sheehan sustained lacerations to his arms and hands. Officer O’Connell was taken to Cook County Hospital and was treated. However, Officer O’Connell died on November 19, 1911 due to complications from the injuries he sustained. Officer Sheehan was treated for his wounds and made a full recovery.
The Coroner recommended apprehension of the slayers. On April 1, 1912, Frank Canesi was arrested in connection with the murder. On August 12, 1912, the case against Canesi was stricken off the record by Judge Kersten.
Officer O’Connell was waked at his residence located at 1237 West 13th Street. His funeral mass was held in Requiem at Holy Family Church located at 1019 South May Street. He was laid to rest on November 22, 1911 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman John O’Connell, born June 14, 1878, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 23, 1906.
Officer O’Connell was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Mamie; children: Ellen, John, Lillian, Margaret and Mary and siblings: James, Joseph (CPD), Josephine Cogan, Margaret, Nellie, Sarah and Timothy.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #4649.
Further narrative of incident details unavailable. The officer’s homicide record is held in the Illinois State Archives: Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index, Volume 2, page 128A. Other person involved: Frank Canesi, it is unknown the role Canesi played in the officer’s death. The record is held in storage at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
On August 10, 1886, an officer by the same name, who was at the Haymarket tragedy, gave testimony at the Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial. It is unknown if this officer was the same officer killed.