Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years, 2 months, 6 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 31 - Town Hall
District of Incident (Present Day): 020 - Lincoln
Location of Occurrence:
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 35
Date of Birth: 12 Mar 1890
Date of Appointment: 16 Apr 1919
Date of Incident: 020 - Lincoln
End of Watch: 22 Jun 1925
Date of Interment: 25 Jun 1925
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-9
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 2
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 14
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 31-E: 13
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: YES, Branch Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Patrick John McGovern, Star #4336, aged 35 years, was a 6 year, 2 month, 16 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 31 – Town Hall.
On June 22, 1925, at 2:45 p.m., Officer McGovern was assigned to escort George Haney, treasurer of the Pantheon Theatre carrying cash receipts, to the North Shore Trust and Savings Bank located at 5000 North Sheridan Road. This was part of Officer McGovern’s weekly routine. Officer McGovern was carrying $4,080.00, two days of receipts from the theatre, wrapped in a newspaper under his arm. As McGovern walked down Sheridan Road, three armed offenders lay in wait in a parked automobile on the North side of Ainslie Street at Sheridan Road. When Officer McGovern and Mr. Haney passed by the Southwest corner of Ainslie Street and Sheridan Road, the bandits pulled down their skullcaps and one bandit jumped from the car. That bandit approached them and blocked Officer McGovern’s path while drawing a .38 caliber revolver and pointed it at him. The bandit then demanded the money and said, “Stick ‘em up or I’ll blow your brains out!” Officer McGovern then attempted to draw his weapon, but before he could get it out of the holster the bandit fired three times striking him in the chest. Officer McGovern collapsed to the ground and died shortly thereafter. The bandit grabbed the money and fled the scene.
On June 23, 1925, William J. Phalen, Jr. was arrested for the murder of Officer McGovern after being identified as the killer by Jeanette Carter who witnessed the murder. Jeanette Carter was one of four high school girls being driven past the scene as the robbery was taking place. Phalen was held by the Coroner the next day. During the Coroner’s inquest, Carter testified that, “I saw the man who fired the shots. When the policemen fell to the sidewalk, we drove around the corner and away. On Leland Avenue, between Winthrop and Kenmore Avenues, we noticed a man who looked suspiciously. I noticed the band on his straw hat was of the same fancy pattern as was on the murderer. When he saw us the man grew white, mopped his brow, and started off on a run. He felt back toward his hi pocket, and we were afraid he was going to shoot. He started to throw away papers from his pocket. At the corner of Leland Avenue and Broadway we shouted to a man there to ‘Hold that man. He killed a policeman.’ Then we went back for two policemen who came with us and arrested the man.” During the inquest, Deputy Coroner Granata asked Carter if she saw the man in the room. Phalen put on the straw hat and was positively identified as the murderer by Mrs. Carter. The other three girls testified to the same story, but they couldn’t identify Phalen as the murder with certainty. Lloyd Mochel and his wife, also witnesses of the shooting were certain, after viewing Phalen, that he was not the killer in addition to other witnesses. William J. Phalen, Jr. was later released and the charges against him dropped.
On June 28, 1926, four men were arrested and taken to the Robey Street station by Sergeants Roy G. Couthre and Gordon McKune. A fifth member of the gang, believed to be the killer of Officer McGovern, was reported hiding in a house on the south side. Once at Robey Street, Chief of Detectives Shoemaker and Captain Max Danner questioned the four men. Martha Snyder of 4518 North Sheridan Road, an employee of a restaurant a half block from the murder, was also arrested. It was reported to police that she had knowledge about the crime. In the end several arrests were made concerning McGovern’s murder but no one was ever found guilty of the crime.
Officer McGovern was waked at his residence located at 2060 North California Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Sylvester Catholic Church located at 2157 West Humboldt Boulevard. He was laid to rest on June 25, 1925 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave NS Cent. 2-0 H, Lot S 302, Block –, Section 52.
Patrolman Patrick John McGovern, born March 12, 1890, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 16, 1919.
Officer McGovern served in the Armed Forces, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of the Holy Name Society. Officer McGovern was survived by his parents, John L. and Mary (nee Cornyn) and siblings: Beatrice Roseanne, Catherine Hickey, Sister Gertrude Aloysius, Lawrence J. (CPD) and Mary. He was preceded in death by his brother, James J. (CFD). Officer McGovern’s brother, James J. McGovern, was a Chicago Firefighter who died in the line of duty on March 15, 1922.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #8657.