Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 12 years, 1 month, 23 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 2nd District - South Clark
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 35
Date of Birth: 22 Oct 1895
Date of Appointment: 16 Apr 1919
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 09 Jun 1931
Date of Interment: 12 Jun 1931
Cemetery: Mount Carmel Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot 35, Block 11, Section 32
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 12
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 30
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 6-E: 15
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Navy
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Edward Michael Joseph O’Donnell, Star #3363, aged 35 years, was a 12 year, 2 month, 23 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 2nd District – South Clark.
On June 9, 1931, Officer O’Donnell was detailed to the Paul Schultz Baking Company located at 25 North Green Street. He was to escort Lillian Rice, an assistant cashier, to the Mid-City Trust and Savings Bank, located at Madison and Halsted Streets, in order to make a bank deposit. The cashier was carrying a brief case containing cash and checks amounting to $2,600.00. On the corner of Green and Madison Streets, they were accosted by two bandits, one of whom grabbed for the brief case and the other covered Officer O’Donnell. Officer O’Donnell attempted to thwart the robbery, and while attempting to draw his weapon he was shot and fell to the ground mortally wounded. A citizen, Frank Rogers, a war veteran and sporting goods salesman who was parked in a nearby auto, heard the gunfire and ran to the officer’s side. It was at this time the bandits fled on foot toward Washington Boulevard.
Rogers grabbed the officer’s gun and pursued the two bandits. Rogers caught up to them as they hid under a car in the rear of 32 North Halsted Street and yelled “Come out from under there and come out with your hands up.” He was in command of the situation when West Park Patrolman P. J. Dorgan and Patrolman Ernest Schaefer of the 26th District, arrived on the scene. The two bandits, Mike Trotta, age 25, of 924 North Ashland Avenue and Nick Floridia, age 29, of 1933 West Taylor Street were captured. As the men were placed in custody and searched, the murder weapon was nowhere to be found. Police searched the area and their weapons were recovered from the roof of a nearby barn. The money however was never recovered leading to speculation that a third offender was involved. Officer O’Donnell was transported to Cook County Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2:40 p.m. on June 9, 1931.
The men were taken to the station for questioning where they confessed to the robbery, shooting and ownership of the recovered guns. Nick Floridia and Mike Trotta pleaded guilty to Officer O’Donnell’s murder. On August 6, 1931, Judge Charles A. Williams, presiding over the bench trial, sentenced them each to serve 145 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. In 1959, Nick Floridia’s sentence was commuted by Governor Stratton for good behavior and reduced to 60 years in prison. He became eligible for parole in 1961 and was released from prison the same year, after serving 30 years of his prison sentence. Mike Trotta’s sentenced was reduced to 60 years in prison after he participated in Malaria experiments during World War II.
Officer O’Donnell was waked at his residence located at 4907 West Fulton Street. His funeral mass was held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church located at 5112 West Washington Boulevard. He was laid to rest on June 12 1931 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot 35, Block 11, Section 32.
Patrolman Edward Michael Joseph O’Donnell, born October 22, 1895, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 16, 1919. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career.
Officer O’Donnell served in the U.S. Navy from December 15, 1917 thru December 26, 1918, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Storekeeper 3rd Class. He was also a member of Chicago Police Post No. 207 American Legion and the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. Officer O’Donnell was survived by his wife, Elsie Amelia (nee Popp), age 30; children: Edward Frank, age 3 and Patricia Mary, age 5 and siblings: Arthur, Joseph and William.