Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 6 months, 22 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 20 - Warren

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

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy

Age at Time of Death: 24


Date of Birth: 25 Dec 1898

Date of Appointment: 08 Jun 1922

Date of Incident: 012 - Near West

End of Watch: 30 Dec 1922

Date of Interment: 02 Jan 1923


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Calvary Cemetery - Evanston, Illinois
 Grave Location: Lot 21, Block 13, Section Z
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-7

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 13

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 8

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 41-E: 15

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: No Military Record Found


Incident & Biographic Details

Probationary Patrolman William J. O’Malley, Star #2, aged 24 years, was a 6 month, 22 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 20 – Warren.

On December 30, 1922, at 12:45 a.m., Officer O’Malley was on duty and working with his partners, Patrolmen Simon R. Kennedy and W. M. Murphy. They were at a patrol box, in the process of reporting in to the station at the end of their shift, when they received a report of a shooting. The officers went to investigate and began responding to Jackson Boulevard and Paulina Street. While en route they observed a man, John Reiss, loitering on the corner of Hermitage Avenue and Van Buren Street. After questioning him, Officer O’Malley attempted to place Reiss into custody for the shooting. Reiss resisted, produced a gun, and fired hoping to cause enough confusion to make good his escape. The bullet he fired struck Officer O’Malley’s police star before it entered his chest. Officer Kennedy drew his service revolver and fired upon Reiss, incapacitating him. Officer O’Malley was rushed to Cook County Hospital where he died shortly after arriving. Reiss was taken to the Bridewell Hospital where he died later that night.

The shooting began when John Reiss shot a young woman, Minnie Finkelstein, at Adams and Paulina Streets. Miss Finkelstein was walking home with her brother, Isadore and friends, Miss Bessie Klass and Leo Kaufman. They had just attended a high school dance when they encountered Reiss. Reiss was with two other boys when he made unwanted advances toward the girl. When she refused to have anything to do with him, Reiss shot her in the hip. When Miss Bessie Klass attempted to aid her, the two young boys with Reiss fled the scene. It is not known what happened to the two boys as the police did not see them when they encountered Reiss.

Officer O’Malley was waked at his residence located at 417 South Homan Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica located at 3121 West Jackson Boulevard. He was laid to rest on January 2, 1923 in Calvary Cemetery, 301 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. His grave is located 2nd from the North line in Lot 21, Block 13, Section Z.

Probationary Patrolman William J. O’Malley, born December 25, 1898, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 8, 1922. He earned 2 Credible Mentions during his career.

Officer O’Malley was a member of Americus Council No. 1279 Knights of Columbus. He was survived by his parents: Mary (nee O’Brien) and William and siblings: Catherine, Margaret, Richard and Sadie.

Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7461.