Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years, 8 months, 11 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 29th District - West Chicago
District of Incident (Present Day): 014 - Shakespeare
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 37
Date of Birth: 07 Dec 1891
Date of Appointment: 26 Oct 1922
Date of Incident: 014 - Shakespeare
End of Watch: 07 Jul 1929
Date of Interment: 10 Jul 1929
Cemetery: Mount Carmel Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 5, Lot N49, Block 1, Section 25
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 15
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 25
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1-E: 12
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman John Joseph Sweeney, Jr., Star #411, aged 37 years, was a 6 year, 8 month, 11 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 29th District – West Chicago.
On July 7, 1929, at 2:50 a.m., Officer Sweeney, while on patrol, observed a gunman robbing a taxi cab driver. As Officer Sweeney pursued, the offender fled into an alley. As Officer Sweeney confronted the gunman, the offender opened fire. Officer Sweeney sustained a gunshot wound to the chest striking his heart during the encounter.
At the same time Patrolmen Peter Arnold, Thomas Buckley and Joseph Moffat, while working the patrol wagon, were at 836 North Noble Street. They were there to arrest a man whose wife had sworn out a complaint against him. While at the address they heard a succession of shots. The officers immediately rush out to investigate racing down the alley between Noble and Rose Streets. They were just off of Chicago Avenue and came to a screeching halt when they found Officer Sweeney’s unconscious body lying on the ground. Sweeney was bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. The alley was quickly searched but no suspects or clues were found. Officer Sweeney was then rushed to the nearest hospital dying en route.
The case was a mystery until July 25, 1920, when John Wysocki, a career thief, confessed to shooting Sweeney. He said he shot Sweeney, as he attempted to arrest him, just after he had robbed a Checker Cab chauffeur and was making his escape. His arrest followed the commission of a similar holdup. On July 30, 1929, Wysocki was indicted for the murder of Officer Sweeney. On August 3, 1929, he was sentenced to 78 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge Kerner. In 1957, John Wysocki died while still incarcerated.
Officer Sweeney was waked at his residence located at 4934 West Superior Street. His funeral mass was held at Our Lady Help of Christians Church located at 832 North Leclaire Avenue. He was laid to rest on July 10, 1929 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 5, Lot N49, Block 1, Section 25.
Patrolman John Joseph Sweeney, Jr., born December 7, 1891, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 26, 1922.
Officer Sweeney served in the U.S. Army from February 23, 1918 thru (discharge date unknown) in the Demobilization Group, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private 1st Class. He was also a member of Chicago Police Post No. 207 American Legion and the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. Officer Sweeney was survived by his wife, Margaret (nee Mahoney); children: Jay, Margaret Mary, age 4, Matthew Francis, age 2 and Timothy Joseph, age 4 and siblings: Bridget, Michael, Nora Caplis and Timothy.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #11047.