Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 9 months, 8 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 5, 5th Precinct - Hyde Park
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 28
Date of Birth: 14 Apr 1893
Date of Appointment: 23 Nov 1917
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 25 Aug 1921
Date of Interment: 29 Aug 1921
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 6
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 5
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 19-E: 16
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Temporary Sergeant Thomas James Egan, Star #595, aged 28 years, was a 3 year, 9 month, 8 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 5, 5th Precinct – Hyde Park.
On August 20, 1921, at 11:30 p.m., Sergeant Egan, while on duty working in plainclothes, was stationed in front of the home of General Superintendent Charles C. Fitzmorris located at 5533 South Hyde Park Boulevard. While standing his post he observed a man, Walter Grzybowski, alias Walter Gibson, lurking in the shadows for some time close to where Sergeant Egan had been standing. When Grzybowski realized he had been spotted, he emerged and approached Sergeant Egan pointing a pistol at him and announced a robbery. Egan quickly drew his weapon and opened fire. In the ensuing gun battle Sergeant Egan fired three rounds and as Grzybowski fell from being hit he fired three. Sergeant Egan sustained one gunshot to the chest with the bullet penetrating his heart while Grzybowski was shot twice in the abdomen. As Sergeant Egan collapsed to the sidewalk he yelled out for Fitzmorris saying, “Chief, I’m shot! O, Chief, hurry.” Superintendent Fitzmorris was preparing for bed at the time when he heard the calls for help and snatched his revolver from the dresser and ran outside to investigate. He found both Egan and Grzybowski laying on the ground near unconsciousness. Sergeant Egan was able to give the Superintendent an account of what transpired just before falling unconscious. Both men were taken to Illinois Central Hospital where Sergeant Egan lingered dying six days later on August 26, 1921. Grzybowski was treated and recovered but committed suicide before he could stand trial for the murder.
Sergeant Egan had been stationed at the Superintendent’s house after being involved in a shooting just down the street from the house on May 25, 1921. On that night he was working with his partner Patrolman Joseph Connors when they were standing on the corner of 56th Street and Everett Avenue. They observed an auto approaching without lights. The officers jumped onto the running board of the car and ordered the driver, John Moore, of 814 West 56th Place to halt. It was at this time that the passenger, J. W. Gooney, age 32, of 4713 South Paulina Street, attempted to draw a revolver. Egan drew his service revolver and shot Gooney for times killing him. The driver then stopped and surrendered.
Sergeant Egan was waked at his parent’s residence located at 6020 South Peoria Street. His funeral mass was held in Requiem at St. Brendan Catholic Church located at 6714 South Racine Avenue. He was laid to rest on August 29, 1921 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Temporary Sergeant Thomas James Egan, born April 14, 1893, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on November 23, 1917 and was issued Star #917. On August 22, 1921, he was promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant for Meritorious Conduct and issued Star #595. He earned 3 Credible Mentions during his career.
Sergeant Egan was a member of the Calumet Council No. 632 Knights of Columbus and Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Gertrude M.; children: Margaret and Thomas Robert, age 3; parents: John (CPD) and Margaret M. (nee Carthy) and siblings: Charles (CPD), John (CPD), Margaret and William (CPD).
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7452.