P-O- Thomas Kelma #427

P.O. Thomas Kelma #427


Name: Kelma, Thomas
Star: 427
Memorial Panel #: #PANEL#
Rank: Patrolman
District / Unit: Maxwell Street Station
End of Watch: 31 May 1935
Incident Details: Police Officer Thomas Kelma, 35, was a 10-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Maxwell Street Station.

On May 31, 1935, off-duty Officer Kelma was a patron at a tavern located in the 2000 block of South Ashland Avenue. While the officer was inside, four armed robbers entered – Jerry Reporto, Edward Darlark, Thomas Arelano, and Frank Bankes. Officer Kelma attempted to draw his weapon when Frank Bankes opened fire and shot him twice. The four offenders fled the scene. Officer Kelma was rushed to St. Anthony’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Jerry Reporto, 24, was sentenced to life in prison. Edward Darlark, 27, was sentenced to serve 199 years in prison. Thomas Arelano, 21, was sentenced to serve 14 years in prison. The shooter, Frank Bankes, 28, committed suicide in County Jail.

Officer Kelma was laid to rest in Bohemian National Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Agnes; daughters, Patricia and Rosemary; and his son, Peter.