Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 4 months, 3 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 35th District - East Chicago
District of Incident (Present Day): 025 - Grand Central
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 16 May 1897
Date of Appointment: 22 Nov 1920
Date of Incident: 025 - Grand Central
End of Watch: 12 Oct 1930
Date of Interment: 15 Oct 1930
Cemetery: Irving Park Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 28
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 45-E: 14
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman William Philip Rumbler, Star #2358, aged 33 years, was a 3 year, 4 month, 3 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 35th District – East Chicago.
On October 12, 1930, at 9:25 p.m., Officer Rumbler was off duty visiting a friend, James Purcelli, the owner of a “Soft Drink Parlor” located at 3174 North Milwaukee Avenue. While seated in a chair conversing with Purcelli, a man entered the establishment and asked for an individual by the name of James Darwin. Purcelli replied that he did not know of a person by that name. At that time, two additional men entered and ordered Rumbler, Purcelli and two porters to “put up their hands.” Everyone complied until one of the gunman started to search Officer Rumbler. The policeman, with no choice, drew his gun and opened fire, firing two times. All three bandits returned fire, piercing Rumbler’s body with eleven bullets causing him to collapse to the floor. The bandits then escaped in an automobile. However, before they could escape Officer Rumbler was able to fire one more round and wound one of them. Rumbler was transported to Belmont Hospital where he was pronounced dead a few minutes after arrival on October 12, 1930.
Responding officers under the command of Lieutenant James Doherty responded to the scene. Two hats were recovered and believed to be the robbers. One hat had a bullet hole in it with bloodstains. Police, seeing this, ordered a watch on all hospitals and doctor’s offices in the hope the bandit who was shot would show up for medical attention. Purcelli was transported to the Shakespeare Station for questioning. He related that Rumbler and he had been friends for many years and that Rumbler had dropped in for a visit. Police theorized that Rumbler’s murder might have been a case of mistaken identity. Rumbler’s Partner, Detective John Kratzmeyer, had recently received death threats related to their actions taken against bootleggers. This idea was later dismissed.
The next day police answering a radio flash message that a wounded man had been taken to 2032 West Erie Street. When officers arrived they found Walter Evenow who confessed his part in the Crime. Evenow implicated the following persons; John Senow, Frank Mallen, age 30, Mary Schubert, Albert Novak and Dr. D. A. Palmissano, all of which were booked as accessories. On October 24, 1930, Judge Lyle dismissed Palmisano’s case with prejudice. On January 20 1931, Senow was brought back from Cleveland, Ohio, where he had been arrested for passing a bogus check. On January 14, 1931, Senow, Evenow and Mallen were indicted by the Grand Jury, although Mallen was still at large. On February 4, 1931, Schubert & Novak cases were discharged by Judge Padden. On May 21, 1931, both Evenow and Senow were sentenced to 60 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge Williams. In 1955, after serving 24 years and 245 days Evenow was paroled. Frank Mallen was never apprehended and remains at large.
Officer Rumbler was waked at Funeral Church located at 3831-30 West Irving Park Boulevard, his funeral mass was also held at Funeral Church. He was laid to rest on October 15, 1930 in Irving Park Cemetery, 7777 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman William Philip Rumbler, born May 16, 1897, received a Temporary Appointment, #807, to the Chicago Police Department on August 11, 1919 and was issued Star #927. He received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on November 22, 1920 and was issued Star #616. He earned 1 Credible Mention and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $180.00 during his career. On June 8, 1922, Officer Rumbler was suspended and did not return to the Department until April 1, 1926. He was gone for 3 years, 9 months and 24 days. It is not known whether that entire time gone was a result of his suspension.
Officer Rumbler served in the U.S. Army from August 1, 1918 thru January 5, 1919 in 4 P R G, 156th Regiment D. B., was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private. He was survived by his second wife, Sophia Elizabeth (nee Hardt); children: Lorraine and Melvin; mother, Elizabeth and siblings: Betty Miller and Rose Sagert.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #10952.