Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 18 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 13, 17th Precinct - Maxwell

District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy

Age at Time of Death: 26


Date of Birth: 05 Jul 1894

Date of Appointment: 20 May 1921

Date of Incident: 012 - Near West

End of Watch: 07 Jun 1921

Date of Interment: 11 Jun 1921


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Resurrection Catholic Cemetery - Justice, Illinois
 Grave Location: Unknown
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-6

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 13

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 5

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 6-E: 11

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: U.S. Navy


Incident & Biographic Details

Probationary Patrolman Joseph Kurtz, Star #2711, aged 26 years, was an 18 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 13, 17th Precinct – Maxwell.

On June 7, 1921, at 7:45 p.m., Officer Kurtz was on duty in plain clothes with his partner, Patrolman James F. Hennelly. Officer Kurtz was still waiting for his first police uniform after being on the job only 18 days. The officer responded to the scene of a “battery in progress“ between a man and two intoxicated brothers, Arthur Brinzing and Louis Brinzing, on the Southeast corner of 17th and Canal Streets. As Officer Kurtz attempted to subdue Arthur Brinzing, his brother struggled with Officer Hennnelly. During the struggle Officer Hennelly realized that he recognized Arthur as a policeman who worked out of the Maxwell Street Station. While struggling with Louis, Officer Hennelly attempted to make Officer Kurtz and Arthur aware of their shared profession so they would stop scuffling.

Tragically, Officer Hennelly’s drawn attention allowed Louis Brinzing to reach inside his coat pocket and gain control of his service revolver. Louis aimed the gun at Officer Kurtz and fired hitting him in the chest. Hennelly immediately disarmed him after the first shot, but it was to late. A citizen, Jerry J. Memec of 553 West Sixteenth Street, was driving by stopped, loaded the wounded officer into his car and rushed him to Cook County Hospital. Both Arthur and Louis Brinzing were then taken into custody and transported to the Maxwell station where they sat in a cell together. Unfortunately, Officer Kurtz died en route to the hospital and was instead taken to the county morgue. Mr. Memec then relocated to the Maxwell Street Station to report the officer’s death. The man the brothers were beating up slipped away during the struggle and was never located.

On June 8, 1921, Officer Brinzing was officially reprimanded by the Department under Special Order #221, S.P.9.C. On June 9, 1921, Louis Brinzing was held to the Grand Jury on a charge of murder and his brother was held as an accessory. On October 19, 1921, Louis Brinzing was acquitted and the case against Arthur Brinzing was nolle prossed by Judge Fitch. On July 1, 1921, Officer Brinzing was again reprimanded by the Department under Special Order #242.5, R.D.

Officer Kurtz was waked at his residence located at 924 West 35th Street. He was laid to rest on June 11, 1921 in Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, 7201 Archer Avenue, Justice, Illinois.

Probationary Patrolman Joseph Kurtz, born July 5, 1894, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 20, 1921.

Officer Kurtz served in the U.S. Navy from April 4, 1917 thru April 14, 1919, was a veteran of Worl War 1 and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Gunners Mate 3rd Class. He was survived by his parents: Andrew and Mary and siblings: Harold, Isadore, Leo, Leona and Louis.

Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7451.