Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 12 years, 1 month, 1 day

Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 28 - East Chicago

District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Gunfire - Friendly

Age at Time of Death: 34

Timeline


Date of Birth: 17 Feb 1883

Date of Appointment: 22 Jan 1915

Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall

End of Watch: 23 Feb 1927

Date of Interment:

 

Interment Details


 Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
 Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot S 1/2 8, Block 5, Section 5
 Interment Disposition: Burial

 

Memorial Details


Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Not Listed

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed

 

Service


 Military Service: No Military Record Found

 

Incident & Biographic Details


Patrolman Richard Nash, Star #3003, aged 34 years, was a 12 year, 1 month, 1 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 28 – East Chicago.

On February 23, 1927, at 7:00 p.m., Officer Nash, while off duty and in civilian clothes, was driving home from work when he cut in front of another vehicle just before Grace Street on Lincoln Avenue. The vehicle owned by Michael Moore, age 36 of 2610 North Racine Avenue was being driven by Frank Runowski. Runowski was a Probationary Patrolman with only three months on the job, assigned to District 34 – Rogers Park. Moore and a third man, John Wilogalski, a former pro ball player and Deputy Sheriff, were seated in the back seat. The three men were returning home after visiting several roadhouses. Officer Nash then proceeded to turn onto Grace Street toward an alley leading to his residence’s garage located at 3811 North Robey Street (present day Damen Avenue). Not liking the way Nash cut him off; Officer Runowski followed Nash into the alley. Nash parked his car and as he got out, Officer Runowski pulled up and jumped out of his car. Runowski said, “Haven’t you any brains?” Nash responded with, “What do you mean?” Not knowing each other were police officers, Officer Nash in fear for his life drew his revolver and pointed it at Officer Runowski. Officer Runowski then drew his revolver and yelled, “I’m a police officer” and fired in the air, according to a statement made by Officer Runowski after the fact. Officer Nash fired at Officer Runowski in response. During questioning, Officer Runowski stated that he fired in the air one more time. Officer Nash then fired again. It was at this time, per Officer Runowski, that he took aim and fired upon Officer Nash.

Officer Nash’s residence was located only four doors from the Robey Street Station. Hearing the gunfire, officer inside the station ran outside and found Officers Nash and Runowski, Moore and Wilogalski lying on the ground in the alley with gunshot wounds. All four men were taken to Ravenswood Hospital where Officer Nash succumbed to his injuries only minutes after arriving. Wilogalski was critically injured and underwent emergency surgery. His intestines were punctured in a dozen places. Officer Runowski and Moore were treated and subject to questioning. Deputy Chief Zimmer, Deputy Chief of Detectives John Stege, Captain Max Danner of the Robey Street Station and Captain Murphy of the East Chicago Avenue Station all responded to the hospital. They questioned Runowski and Moore and then called for Assistant State’s Attorney Samuel Schien who took the men’s statements. Deputy Zimmer then stripped Officer Runowski of his police star and stationed police guards at the rooms of the three wounded men. In a tragic case of mistaken identity throughout, Deputy Chief Zimmer exonerated Officer Nash of any wrongdoing. Officer Runowski on the other hand was not so fortunate and was brought up on charges.

On February 23, 1927, Runowski and Moore were booked for murder. On March 3, 1927, the Coroner exonerated them and the case was not placed on the Municipal Court sheet. On March 8,1927, Officer Runowski was discharged from the service of the Police Department.

Officer Nash was waked at his residence located at 3811 North Robey Street (present day Damen Avenue). His funeral mass was held at St. Andrew Parish Church located at 3546 North Paulina Street. He was laid to rest on February 26, 1927 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot S 1/2 8, Block 5, Section 5.

Patrolman Richard Nash, born February 17, 1883, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on January 22, 1915.

Officer Nash was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth (nee Ambrose) and children: Francis, Julia and Mrs. John Roberts.

Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #8714.