Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 9 years, 10 months, 21 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 27th District - Warren
District of Incident (Present Day): 011 - Harrison
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 38
Date of Birth: 16 Jul 1894
Date of Appointment: 10 Feb 1922
Date of Incident: 011 - Harrison
End of Watch: 08 Jul 1933
Date of Interment: 11 Jul 1933
Cemetery: Acacia Park Cemetery - Norridge, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 20
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 35
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 38-E: 17
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Harry James Redlich, Star #5406, aged 38 years, was a 9 year, 10 month, 21 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 27th District – Warren.
On July 8, 1933, at approximately 12:00 p.m., Officer Redlich was directing traffic at the intersection of Madison Street and Kedzie Avenue. Mrs. Charlotte Taylor, a secretary for the Thomas W. Compton Advertising Agency located in the Madison-Kedzie Building at 9 South Kedzie Avenue, was in the hallway outside of Room 307 when she saw two robbers get off the elevator, John Bongiorno, age 28 and Ross King, age 34. She watched them enter the advertising agency’s office and after she recognized them from an earlier robbery, she sprang into action. Taylor alerted the elevator operator, Steve Jadro, and ran downstairs to the street where she saw Officer Redlich directing traffic. Taylor informed him that the advertising agency was being robbed. Mrs. Taylor stated that the robbers were the same ones that had stolen $90.00 from the agency on June 7, 1933.
Officer Redlich followed Mrs. Taylor back to the agency and observed the robbers in the process of holding up Mr. Compton and Jack Kiefus, a salesman. As Officer Redlich stood outside Room 307, he could see Bongiorno’s shadow on the glass of the office door. Redlich drew his revolver and ordered the Bongiorno to step out of the office. Bongiorno came out unarmed and tried to persuade Redlich that he was an insurance agent. Redlich, unconvinced, told the robber to move over by the elevator. While Bongiorno continued to argue about his identity Bongiorno’s partner, Ross King, whom Redlich had not seen, took $60.00 in cash and $20.00 in stamps. King jumped from the office window onto a ledge and about ten feet below he crawled back into the building through a second floor window. King then went to the stairwell near where Redlich and Bongiorno were standing. King quietly crept up the stairs and had the drop on Redlich. Officer Redlich’s back was to King as he was searching Bongiorno for weapons. Without warning, King opened fire, firing five shots, striking Redlich three times in the back. Redlich collapsed to the floor and died shortly thereafter.
Bongiorno and King fled from the building unharmed, but were apprehended a few hours later. King commandeered a truck driven by Alex Livingston, 4824 West Harrison Street, and ordered him to speed west on Madison Street while holding him at gunpoint. Sergeant John Kratzmeyer and his Detective Bureau squad were on the lookout when they spotted King. The squad attempted to pull the truck over and a vehicle pursuit ensued. Eventually the pursuit would end when Livingston aided in crashing the truck into a garage four blocks west of Kedzie Avenue. King was apprehended and placed into custody. Bongiorno sought refuge in a basement at 3031 West Warren Boulevard. At the same time as the pursuit, Captain John Stege and Sergeant Arthur Madzinski received an anonymous phone call at the Warren Avenue station. The caller stated that “A robber is in the basement at 3031 Warren.” Rushing to the address, they found the basement door barricaded. They broke the door down and Bongiorno immediately surrendered saying “Don’t shoot, I didn’t kill him.” Both men were brought back to the station and questioned by Assistant State’s Attorneys Dougherty and John Long. Both men confessed their roles in the killing.
The offenders, John Bongiorno, alias Joe Lippo, and Ross King, alias Kenneth Smith were both ex-convicts on parole. Bongiorno had served six years for his part in a Chicago hotel hold-up at the Pontiac Reformatory, while King had served six years of a 7 to 15 year sentence at Marquette Prison in Michigan for a robbery conviction. On the same day, July 8, 1933, a special Coroner’s Jury turned the two bandits over to the Grand Jury on a charge of Murder. The day after the arrest, an angry public demanded the death penalty be sought during their trials. On July 10, 1933, both men were indicted by a Coroner’s Jury. The two men stood trial and on September 7, 1933 were found guilty by jury trial. On September 18, 1933, Bongiorno was sentenced by Judge Harry B. Miller to the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet for 199 years, where he remained until being paroled in the 1960’s. King was the one who would pay the price the public demanded, on September 18, 1993, King was also sentenced by Judge Harry B. Miller to death. On October 16, 1933, at 12:03 a.m., King was executed in the electric chair at Cook County Jail, he was pronounced dead at 12:06 a.m.
Officer Redlich’s was waked at Ramme Funeral Home located at 3918-20 West Irving Park Boulevard, his funeral mass was also held at the Ramme Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on July 11, 1933 in Acacia Park Cemetery, 7800 West Irving Park Road, Norridge, Illinois.
Patrolman Harry James Redlich, born July 16, 1894, received a Temporary Appointment, #833, to the Chicago Police Department on August 25, 1919 and was issued Star #1749. He received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on February 10, 1922 and was issued Star #1385.
Officer Redlich served in the U.S. Army from September 18, 1917 thru June 9, 1919 in Company 1, 320th Infantry, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private. He was also a member of the Chicago Police Post No. 207 American Legion and the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. Officer Redlich was survived by his wife, Laura Jean (nee Burrows), age 51; daughter, Jacqueline Jean, age 8 and siblings: Bernard, Florence Johnson, Freida Briggs, Gertrude Rogers, Gussie Broder, Herman and Mabel Meeker. He was preceded in death by his siblings: Amelia, Carl and Mary.