|Memorial Panel #:||#PANEL#|
|District / Unit:||002|
|End of Watch:||13 April 1934|
|Incident Details:||Police Officer John R. Officer, 43, was assigned to the 005 District-Wabash Avenue.
On April 13, 1934, the officer was walking past Bill’s Bootery located at 302 East 43rdStreet when his police instinct took over. As he walked past the open store, he noticed it was empty of employees and patrons. The officer drew his weapon and began to walk through the rear of the store when he was confronted by the robbers. Two of the robbers opened fire and the officer was fatally shot in the heart. The gang of five had managed to put the owner, clerk, and six customers in the basement when the officer interrupted the robbery-in-progress.
Just as the thieves were exiting the store with their $200 loot, a couple was entering. They forced the couple to drive them to Lake and Paulina Streets. Upon arriving, the gang exited the vehicle and tipped the hostages $3.00. The gang: Alonzo McNeal, 20, George Walker, 29, Henry Moore, Noble Easley, and Henry Clements were arrested on April 20, 1934. The thieves were identified by witnesses and signed written confessions. It was determined that the shots were fired by McNeal and Walker. They were both sentenced to death by electric chair. While awaiting their execution in Cook County Jail, both offenders filed petitions for executive clemency which were denied by then-Governor Horner. Gov. Horner determined that Patrolman Officer was wearing his police uniform and was acting in the performance of his duty when the incident occurred. Alonzo McNeal and George Walker were executed on Oct 12, 1934. The other three men served lengthy sentences.
Patrolman John Officer was laid to rest in Sand Hill Cemetery in Princeton, Indiana.