Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 6 months, 11 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 14, 19th Precinct - Lawndale
District of Incident (Present Day): 010 - Ogden
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 32
Date of Birth: 24 Sep 1888
Date of Appointment: 07 May 1917
Date of Incident: 010 - Ogden
End of Watch: 18 Nov 1920
Date of Interment: 22 Nov 1920
Cemetery: St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery - Niles, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 39, Block K, Section X1
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-6
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 17
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 3
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 21-E: 3
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Joseph L. Pijanowski, Star #1427, aged 32 years, was a 3 year, 6 month, 11 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 14, 19th Precinct – Lawndale.
On November 10, 1920, at 1:45 a.m., Officer Pijanowski was on patrol when he came across former alderman Winfield Held near a drug store. The alderman had driven to the drug store to get medicine for his 2-year-old daughter. While on the way home, he came across Officer Pijanowski and asked if he would escort him to his residence located at 2544 South Kedvale Avenue. Held had previously received death threats, which is why he had asked for a police escort that night. Officer Pijanowski got into Held’s auto and they proceeded to his residence. Upon arriving the men turned into the driveway beside the house. As they turned into the driveway the lights from the auto illuminated the porch. It was at this time that Officer Pijanowski observed three men, Raymond Knight of 1922 South Spaulding Avenue, Albert E. Willer and Henry J. Schmidt, hiding beneath the porch stairway. After being ordered to come out, the offenders opened fire. Both Officer Pijanowski and Alderman Held men were hit; collapsing to the ground as the offenders made good their escape. Both were taken to St. Anthony Hospital. Officer Pijanowski lingered in the hospital for eight days before succumbing to his wounds on November 18, 1920. Alderman Held was treated and eventually recovered.
After the incident a .32 caliber Ivor-Johnson revolver was recovered at the scene. It had been found fully loaded and unfired. The firearm was traced in order to ascertain its ownership, the results of the trace are unknown. Alderman Held was detained and questioned. He was working as a Clerk in the Municipal Court at the time and was questioned in regard to his alleged involvement in illegal liquor deals. Held denied any complicity.
Police got a break in the case when Dr. Chester W. Fouser of 4800 West 22nd Street, Cicero, Illinois, reported that he had treated Knight for a gunshot wound to his hand the night of the shooting. On November 15, 1920, Raymond Knight was arrested and charged with murder. On November 20, 1920, the Coroner held him to the Grand Jury after confessing that robbery of Mr. Held was the motive. He also implicated Henry J. Schmidt and Albert E. Willer. On November 29, 1920, Schmidt and Willer were arrested and also charged with murder. On November 30, 1920, Judge Caverly held them to the Grand Jury without bail. On January 14, 1921, Knight and Willer were sentenced to life in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge Sullivan. The charges against Schmidt were eventually dropped.
Officer Pijanowski was laid to rest on November 22, 1920 in St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery, 6800 North Milwaukee Avenue, Niles, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot 39, Block K, Section X1.
Patrolman Joseph L. Pijanowski, born September 24, 1888, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 7, 1917. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career.
Officer Pijanowski was survived by his wife.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #4829.