Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 8 years, 0 months, 6 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 1, 1st Precinct - Central Detail
District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 13 Dec 1883
Date of Appointment: 29 Oct 1909
Date of Incident: 001 - Central
End of Watch: 04 Nov 1917
Date of Interment: 06 Nov 1917
Cemetery: Mount Carmel Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 11
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 52
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 17-W: 8
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Joseph Anthony O’Connor, Star #3704, aged 33 years, was an 8 year, 0 month, 6 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, unit of assigned to District 1, 1st Precinct – Central Detail.
On October 30, 1917, at 11:30 p.m., Officer O’Connor was off duty and in the company of Miss Alma Scanlon of 5052 West Monroe Street. Earlier in the evening a women, claiming to be Mrs. O’Connor, called the 1st Precinct station and informed them that her husband was ill and wouldn’t be reporting for duty. The two were walking down the street and in front of the Galt Hotel located on the Northwest corner of Market Street (present day Wacker Drive) and Madison Street they encountered W. M. Osborn, alias Olson. Osborn had directed an insulting remark at Miss Scanlon. Officer O’Connor took exception and intervened, attempting to arrest Osborn who precipitated the altercation. As Officer O’Connor placed Osborn under arrest he pulled out a revolver and fired. Officer O’Connor was hit in the chest just under his heart and collapsed to the ground. As Osborn attempted to flee, Officer O’Connor drew his gun and returned fire as he lay on the ground. Osborn was struck three times in the legs and collapsed to the ground as he fled. Several apprentice seamen from the Great Lakes Station also witnessed the shooting. One of them was, A. J. Gritten, who also sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound in the neck. Officer O’Connor was rushed to St. Luke Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds four days later on November 4, 1917. Osborn was taken to Iroquois Memorial Hospital where he was treated and then transferred to the Bridewell Hospital. Osborn died from his wounds four days later on November 4, 1917, only a few hours before Officer O’Connor.
Miss Scanlon was taken to the station for a statement following the shooting. While in the hospital, Officer O’Connor’s family and friends rallied around him. They attempted to convince him that he would survive, but he would not entertain the idea. He told them, “That’s all right boys; don’t kid me i’ll be in Mount Carmel in a few days.“ His wife, Mary, was by his bedside when he died and publicly forgave him for being in the company of another woman at the time of the shooting.
Officer O’Connor was waked at his residence located at 3701 West Ohio Street. His funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church located at 3808 West Iowa Street. He was laid to rest on November 6, 1917 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois.
Patrolman Joseph Anthony O’Connor, born December 13, 1883, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 29, 1909.
Officer O’Connor was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association and Commodore Harry Council No. 1118 Knights of Columbus. He was survived by his wife, Mary (nee Binoski) and siblings: Anastasia Walsh, Jeremiah J., John J., L. P. Byrne and Thomas.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #4677.