Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 3 months, 24 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 1st Precinct - Harrison Street Station
District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 26
Date of Birth: 02 Apr 1852
Date of Appointment: 10 Jun 1875
Date of Incident: 001 - Central
End of Watch: 04 Oct 1878
Date of Interment: 08 Oct 1878
Cemetery: Fitch Cemetery - Falls, Pennsylvania
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # A-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 19
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 9
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 27-E: 12
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Albert Race, Star #7, aged 26 years, was a 3 year, 4 month, 24 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 1st Precinct – Harrison Street Station.
On October 4, 1878, at approximately 9:48 p.m., Officer Albert Race observed a horse drawn wagon filled with expensive merchandise. It was stopped facing south in front of Lesser Friedberg’s Pawnshop, located at No. 494 South State Street (present day 904 South State Street). Ostensibly a pawnshop, the place was really a “fence“ for the reception of stolen property, kept by one Lesser Friedberg. The officer, naturally suspecting that the goods were stolen, waited until a man emerged from the pawnshop. He observed two men, George Freeman and Johnny Lamb, both approximately 25 years old sitting on the wagon seat. The officer stepped up to the edge of the sidewalk and began to question them regarding their business, and the property in their possession. Suddenly, without warning Lamb drew a pistol pointed it at Officer Race’s head and fired. Officer Race was struck and mortally wounded.
Lamb then leapt from the wagon and fled on foot across State Street, then down Eldridge Court (present day 9th Street), and towards Wabash Avenue. As he ran he shoved the revolver into a hip pocket. Freeman turned the wagon around and set off northbound on State Street, attempting the make the horses run. Unable to get the horses to run, he jumped off of the wagon within 100 feet and fled on foot Eastbound through a coal yard. Both men made good their escape. Witnesses to the murder carried Officer Race to Freidigki’s Drug Store nearby where he was pronounced dead. Officer Race was then transported to Elton’s “dead room” where he was placed on ice for viewing.
The horse, wagon, and contents were taken to the Harrison Street Station. It was subsequently ascertained that the property in the wagon consisted of a large quantity of silks, which had been stolen by burglary from the store of E. S. Jaffery & Company, No. 120 5th Avenue (present day 120 North Wells Street). The burglary had occurred about an hour before Officer Race was killed. During a full inventory of the wagon, it was learned that some of the silks that were stolen were not accounted for.
Following the shooting, investigators spoke with a witness, William Harmon, who gave a full account of what had occurred. By this time the pawnshop’s curtains were drawn and the doors locked. It was open during the incident, as the two bandits had attempted to sell some of the stolen goods to the shop. Detectives Dan Considine and James Flynn questioned Lesser Friedberg and his wife. Both were well known as a fence for stolen goods. It wasn’t long before the missing silks not contained in the wagon were found secreted in Friedberg’s pawnshop. Mr. and Mrs. Friedberg were arrested and taken to the Harrison Street Station.
On October 13, 1878, Johnny Lamb with the following alias’s Charles Dennis, Jimmy Driscoll, Philo Durfee, Jim Griffin and James Williamson was arrested. His accomplice, George Freeman was arrested in St. Paul, Minnesota and extradited back to Chicago. The men, George Freeman, Lessor Friedberg and Johnny Lamb were held in the County Jail awaiting trial. Friedberg stood trial separately and was found guilty. Friedberg was sentenced to four years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. Johnny Lamb and George Freeman were indicted for Officer Race’s murder. In March 1879, they were tried before Judge E. S. Williams. Freeman turned State’s Evidence and testified against Lamb. Lamb then stood trial and was found guilty by jury trial and sentenced to death by hanging. An appeal was made to the Supreme Court on writ of error and a new trial was granted. On February 16, 1882, Lamb was found not guilty during a second jury trial.
Race waked at his residence located at No. 18 Keeley Street, his funeral mass was also held at his residence. He was laid to rest on October 8, 1878 in Fitch Cemetery, Falls Township, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania.
Patrolman Albert Race, born April 2, 1852, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 10, 1875.
Officer Race was survived by his mother, Mary and brother, Lester.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #1994.