Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 20 years, 8 months, 16 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 18 - Lawndale
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Friendly (Accidental)
Age at Time of Death: 43
Date of Birth: 16 May 1884
Date of Appointment: 07 Mar 1907
Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall
End of Watch: 23 Nov 1927
Date of Interment: 26 Nov 1927
Cemetery: Mount Carmel Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 3, Lot N10, Block 10, Section 21
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 17
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 22
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 27-E: 15
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Sergeant Thomas Henry Lynch, Star #573, aged 43 years, was a 20 year, 8 month, 16 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 18 – Lawndale, detailed to the Detective Division – Ford Squad 21-A.
On November 23, 1927, 4:45 a.m., Sergeant Lynch was on patrol in his Detective Division Ford squad car. The Sergeant was riding on the running board of the car with Patrolmen F. T. Barnes, Harry Lange, George Maher and Charles Wetter riding inside. While driving down Washington Boulevard the officers observed a carload of gangsters. As the officers approached the car, it sped away at a high rate of speed. A pursuit was initiated and the officers began exchanging gunfire with the fleeing auto. The squad car swerved around the corner at Lake Street and Hamilton Avenue at high speed just as Officer Barnes fired at the fugitive auto. Officer Barnes gunfire struck Sergeant Lynch in the left side of his head. The officers immediately terminated the chase and transported Sergeant Lynch to Robert Burns R. Burns Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:05 p.m. on November 23, 1927.
The gangsters they were chasing were suspected to be member of the “42 Gang” from Taylor and Halsted Streets in “Little Italy,” possibly connected to the Capone-Aiello gang war. In the aftermath of the shooting, several speakeasies’ were raided, but no one was ever apprehended in connection with the Sergeant’s death. On November 24, 1927, Officer Barnes was exonerated by the Coroner.
Sergeant Lynch was waked at his residence located at 1839 West Humboldt Boulevard. His funeral mass was held at St. Sylvester’s Roman Catholic Church located at 2915 West Palmer Street. He was laid to rest on November 26, 1927 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 3, Lot N10, Block 10, Section 21.
Sergeant Thomas Henry Lynch, born May 16, 1884, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 7, 1907 and was issued Star #1511. On November 11, 1914, he was promoted to the rank of 2nd Class Detective Sergeant, his title being officially changed by order of the city council on January 11, 1915. On April 1, 1914, he was issued a Detective Sergeant Star # Unknown. On September 21, 1921, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and issued Star #573. He earned 3 Credible Mentions during his career.
Sergeant Lynch was survived by his wife, Mary T.; children: Jessica and Michael and siblings: George V., Mrs. B. S. Riedel and Mrs. G. L. Kohen. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Mary and brother, Dean.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #8521.
In December of 1923 the Ford Squad was assigned to the Detective Division and detailed to patrol two districts. Four men in plainclothes with two shotguns manned the cars. They patrolled 24 hours a day in eight hour shifts.