Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 16 years, 4 months, 22 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 5th District - Wabash
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 46
Date of Birth: 16 Nov 1887
Date of Appointment: 22 Nov 1917
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 13 Apr 1934
Date of Interment: 16 Apr 1934
Cemetery: Sand Hill Cemetery - Princeton, Indiana
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 12
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 36
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 64-E: 13
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman John R. Officer, Star #700, aged 46 years, was a 16 year, 4 month, 22 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 5th District – Wabash.
On April 13, 1934, at 8:52 p.m., Officer John Officer, while on patrol, was walking past Bill’s Bootery located at 302 East 43rd Street when his police instinct took over. As he walked past the open store, he noticed it was empty of employees and patrons. The robbers were just about to flee the scene after taking $200.00 when the Officer noticed the store to be empty. The officer drew his weapon and began to walk through to the rear of the store when he was confronted by the robbers. The robbers were in the process of ordering the owner, William Friedman, a clerk, Albert Pearson and six customers into the basement of the store when the officer entered the store. Two of the robbers opened fire while the Officer returned fire getting five shots off. It was at this time the Officer was shot in the chest, the bullet hitting his heart, leaving him mortally wounded. The Officer slumped over and fell to the floor dying instantly. Just as the thieves were exiting the store with their $200.00 loot, a couple, Mr. Jack White and Miss Hazel Anderson, were entering the store. They high-jacked the couple’s car which was parked near the curb. The robbers forced the two to chauffeur them to Lake and Paulina Streets. Upon arriving, the gang exited the vehicle and tipped the couple $3.00. Before the bandits got out of the car, they warned Mr. White that if the talked to anyone about what happened he would be killed.
Further investigation revealed that two more bandits were to participate in the robbery, but were scared off when a police car pulled up near the shoe store.
The gang: Henry Clements, of 335 West Garfield Boulevard; Noble Easley of 5237 South Prairie Avenue; Alonzo Haywood, alias McNeal, age 20, of 1928 West Maypole; Henry Moore, also of 335 West Garfield Boulevard and George Walker, age 29, also of 335 West Garfield Boulevard, were arrested on April 20, 1934. The thieves were identified by witnesses and signed written confessions. Haywood was arrested at his home while the other four were apprehended at the Garfield Boulevard address. It was determined that Haywood, Moore and Walker robbed the store and the shots fired were by Haywood and Walker. Haywood and Walker stood trial, were found guilty, and both sentenced to death by electric chair. While awaiting their execution in Cook County Jail, both offenders filed petitions for executive clemency which were denied by then Governor Horner. Governor Horner determined that Patrolman Officer was wearing his police uniform and was acting in the performance of his duty when the incident occurred. Alonzo Haywood and George Walker were executed on October 12, 1934. The other three men also stood trial and found guilty serving lengthy prison sentences.
Patrolman John Officer was waked at Blackwell & Bradshaw Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on April 16, 1934 in Sand Hill Cemetery, Sand Hill Cemetery Road and West Broadway Street, Princeton, Indiana.
Patrolman John R. Officer, born November 16, 1887, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on November 22, 1917. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career.
Officer John Officer was survived by his wife, Erie (nee Beverly) and brother, Elmer (CPD). In honor of his brother’s service, Elmer Officer assumed his brothers beat and worked it until his retirement.