Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 17 years, 6 months, 19 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: Detective Bureau (DB)

District of Incident (Present Day): 020 - Lincoln

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy

Age at Time of Death: 43


Date of Birth: 19 Jan 1890

Date of Appointment: 25 May 1916

Date of Incident: 020 - Lincoln

End of Watch: 14 Dec 1933

Date of Interment: 18 Dec 1933


Interment Details

 Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
 Grave Location: Unknown
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-4

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 6

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 36

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 20-W: 14

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: U.S. Army - American Expeditionary Forces


Incident & Biographic Details

Sergeant William Thomas Shanley, Star #760, aged 43 years, was a 17 year, 6 month, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Detective Bureau.

On December 14, 1933, Sergeant Shanley was working with Patrolmen Frank Hopkins and Martin Mullin when they monitored a radio call from Chief of Detectives William Shoemaker. Chief Shoemaker had ordered the men to be on the lookout for a green roadster on the 5300 block of North Broadway Avenue. The officers located the car at a garage repair shop located at 5320 North Broadway Avenue run by Frank Kuhn and Arthur Ulnes. The two men stated that the car was dropped off for repair to its fender and that the man and women who brought it in would be back shortly. Sergeant Shanley relayed this information to Chief Shoemaker and offered to set up surveillance to await the man and woman’s return. The Chief approved of the surveillance and warned the sergeant to be careful because the man he was waiting for was part of John Dillinger’s gang and was considered desperate and extremely dangerous. Sergeant Shanley wrote down Dillinger’s name on a piece of paper and then informed the patrolman of their new assignment.

At approximately 3:45 p.m., Sergeant Shanley ordered Officer Hopkins to notify Officer Mullin that the squad car had to be returned to the Detective Bureau before the next shift came in at 4:00 p.m. Mullin had been keeping watch from inside the vehicle which was parked at Catapla and Broadway Avenues. Officer Hopkins left to relay the order. Shortly after he left, a man, suspected to be John Hamilton, and a woman, suspected to be Elaine De Kant Dent, entered the garage. What happened next was recounted by Same Tower, a mechanic who worked for the garage. Tower stated that Hamilton and Dent walked up to the car when Sergeant Shanley approached them. Shanley asked if the car belonged to Hamilton. Hamilton replied no, it belongs to my wife Elaine who then handed Shanley a license receipt. Sergeant Shanley then began to search Hamilton for a gun while instructing him to keep his hands in plain sight. As the sergeant bent over to pat down Hamilton’s Pockets, Hamilton drew a revolver from his shoulder holster and fired twice at Shanley.

Sergeant Shanley then yelled saying he was wounded, telling the onlookers to call for help as he fell to the floor with the license receipt still in his hand. At this time, Hamilton grabbed Dent by the arm and dragged her out of the garage. The rest of the incident was recounted by Officer Hopkins, who stated that while about 200 feet from the garage he observed Hamilton and Dent leaving the garage. The officer then attempted to approach Hamilton, who took off on foot through a vacant lot. Dent then ran towards Officer Hopkins who quickly placed her in custody as she cursed and struggled as he dragged her back into the garage. As Officer Hopkins entered the garage he immediately saw Sergeant Shanley lying in a pool of blood and ran to his aide. Unable to do anything for him, Sergeant Shanley was transported to Edgewater Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries 15 minutes later.

Led by John Dillinger, the Dillinger Gang was a notorious group of Midwest bank robbers. Associates of the gang were responsible for the fatal shootings of 13 law enforcement officers in 1933 and 1934. The suspect, John Hamilton, was a leader of the gang who had broken out of the Indiana Penitentiary on September 26, 1933. On April 30, 1934, Hamilton was shot at the Battle of Little Bohemia in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin and died a short time later. The rest of the Dillinger Gang would either be killed, executed or serve lengthy sentences in prison.

Sergeant Shanley was waked in McGinnis Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on December 18, 1933 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot 39, Block 10, Section 14.

Sergeant William Thomas Shanley, born January 19, 1890, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 25, 1916 and was issued Star #404. On October 1, 1917, Office Shanley went on Military Furlough to fight in World War I. On July 30, 1919, he returned to duty and was issued Star #402. On May 6, 1922, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and issued Star #760. He earned 1 Credible Mention and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $240.00 during his career. Sergeant Shanley was also awarded the Tribune Hero Award for September of 1921 for a separate incident.

Sergeant Shanley served in the U.S. Army – American Expeditionary Forces from October 7, 1917 thru (discharge date unknown) in Deputy Services Company, 95th Aero Squadron Command, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Sergeant. He was survived by his wife, Margaret Mary (nee Kelly), age 39, children: James J., age 6, Mary, age 12, Patricia Sarah, age 8 and William Lawrence, age 11.