P.O. Thomas J. Kelly #12145



Kelly, Thomas J.



Memorial Panel #:




District / Unit:


End of Watch:

03 May 1970

Incident Details:

Police Officer Thomas Kelly, 26, was a 4-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 001 District — Task Force. On March 3, 1970, Officer Thomas Kelly, and his partner, Officer Tom Neustrom, were wearing their police uniforms and driving an unmarked squad car. The officers were on break and going to pick up tuxedos for Officer Kelly’s wedding when they observed gang activity. They watched the group and saw two of the males-Charles Connolly, 25, and Frank Luckett, 19-enter a parked vehicle on South Vincennes Avenue. The officers curbed the vehicle near the intersection of 44th Street and King Drive. Both officers proceeded to walk to the driver’s side window and ask the driver, Connolly, for identification. Upon opening his wallet and providing the officers with fake identification, the officers noticed he had two sets of different social security cards and licenses. Officer Kelly began questioning Connolly, as Officer Neustrom searched Lucket and then the vehicle. Officer Kelly asked Connolly if he could search him and he complied. As the officer attempted to search him, the offender pulled out a gun and fatally shot Officer Kelly. He then shot Officer Neustrom in the chest, as he was while he was conducting a search of the vehicle. Officer Neustrom pretended to be dead, as Connolly dragged his body out of the vehicle and pressed the gun barrel onto his head. The weapon was out of bullets and did not discharge. Both offenders fled the scene of the crime, but were later arrested. Officer Kelly died instantly. Officer Neustrom was taken to Michael Reese Hospital where he underwent surgery; he made a full recovery. Charles Connolly was twice found guilty of Officer Kelly’s murder. He was initially sentenced to be executed in the electric chair. He was re-sentenced to 150 years in prison. In 1970, Connolly denied he was the shooter and accused his accomplice, Frank Luckett, 19, of being the shooter. In 2006, Connolly admitted to murdering Officer Kelly and shooting Officer Neustrom at his clemency hearing. In 1959, at the age of 14, Connolly had been found guilty of robbing and murdering a man on his front porch. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, but had been granted early release. Officer Kelly’s funeral mass was held at St. Mary of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and he was laid to rest in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery. He is survived by his parents, John and Anne; and two brothers, Jack and Robert.