Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 2 years, 9 months, 27 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 38th District - Town Hall
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 36
Date of Birth: 11 Aug 1892
Date of Appointment: 26 Apr 1926
Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall
End of Watch: 22 Feb 1929
Date of Interment: 27 Feb 1929
Cemetery: Irving Park Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-12
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 22
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 24
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 39-E: 2
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Arthur Vollmar, Star #886, aged 36 years, was a 2 year, 9 month, 27 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 38th District – Town Hall.
On February 22, 1929, at 7:45 p.m., Officer Vollmar was riding his motorcycle with his partner Carl Pablowski seated in the sidecar at Clark and School Streets. A pedestrian, Dr. Walter A. Birgerson, pointed to a man, Ralph Yarck, a block away that was running west on the street and stated that he had just robbed him. Birgerson shouted, “That man just held me up, Get him.“ Yarck, who was described as heavy set with a beard, robbed Birgerson of $8.00 in front of his residence and then fled on foot. Birgerson then followed the robber until he saw the officers. Vollmar and Pablowski then gave chase. As Ralph Yarck saw the policemen approach, the fugitive attempted to flee by jumping on a moving Clark Street streetcar going south. Failing in this attempt, he drew a revolver and fired at the policemen as he continued his flight. The officers, who were not hurt, returned fire but missed.
The fugitive then stopped in his tracks, took aim, and fired again. Officer Vollmar toppled from the motorcycle after being shot in the head. The motorcycle, careening across the street, grazed an automobile parked at the curb. It then jumped the curb and knocked down a female pedestrian who was on the sidewalk.
Officer Pablowski then jumped out of the sidecar and took up the pursuit on foot. Yarck disappeared down a nearby alley. At the head of the alley, Pablowski emptied his revolver at the assailant, who stumbled, but quickly regained his footing and escaped. Pablowski said he believed he wounded the killer because he stumbled. The bandit escaped when Pablowski, who continued the pursuit, collapsed from a heart attack. Officer Vollmar was transported to John B. Murphy Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Officer Pablowski recovered from the heart attack and returned to duty.
On April 29, 1931, Ralph Yarck was brought back from Alton, Illinois to face trial. On April 30, 1931, the case was nolle prossed in Branch 29.
Officer Vollmar was laid to rest on February 27, 1929 in Irving Park Cemetery, 7777 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Arthur Vollmar, born August 11, 1892, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 26, 1926.
Officer Vollmar was survived by his wife, Vena (nee Marcotte), age 33 and two children: Elane Marie, age 7.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #11283.
Ironically, Sergeant Vollmar’s star number was previously issued to Sergeant Harry J. Gray, who was also killed in the Line of Duty on November 2, 1925.