Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 10 years, 9 months, 18 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 24th District, 30th Precinct - Town Hall
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 40
Date of Birth: 23 May 1877
Date of Appointment: 26 Oct 1906
Date of Incident: 06 Jun 1917
End of Watch: 13 Aug 1917
Date of Interment: 16 Aug 1917
Cemetery: St. Joseph Cemetery - River Grove, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 34, Block 5, Section J
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 18
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 51
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 63-E: 13
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Sergeant Martin Joseph Corcoran, Star #469, aged 40 years, was a 10 year, 9 month, 18 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to 24th District, 30th Precinct – Town Hall.
On June 6, 1917, at 1:54 p.m., Detective Sergeant Corcoran was on patrol when he spotted Albert N. Johnson and William Pisano carrying a basket containing jewelry and other stolen items. Detective Sergeant Corcoran, after hearing a report of a robbery, believed the men to be the same offenders who robbed Donald R. Innes of 3757 North Pine Grove Avenue earlier in the evening. Corcoran ordered the men to halt and in response the men fled. Her fired a warning shot at them in an attempt to scare them enough to make them stop. He was able to stop them in front of the H.H. Garage located on Waveland Avenue just west of Broadway Avenue. He found Pisano to be carrying a valise (a small traveling bag or suitcase) and the basket containing the proceeds of a burglary. When he attempted to arrest the men, Johnson pulled out a revolver and fired striking Detective Sergeant Corcoran in his thigh. The bandits then separated and fled in different directions. The owner of the garage, Robert F. Hoffman, witnessed the shooting and ran outside. Hoffman then chased Johnson. While fleeing the scene down an alley, Johnson threw his gun down and continued running. Mr. Hoffman picked up the gun and fired two shots. He was able to hit Johnson and apprehend him. Mr. Hoffman then dragged Johnson back to the garage where Detective Sergeant Corcoran had been moved inside. Both Detective Sergeant Corcoran and Johnson were then taken to Alexian Brothers Hospital. Sergeant Corcoran was mortally wounded in the exchange and died seven days later on August 13, 1917. Johnson was treated and released.
Johnson was arrested at the scene and booked for assault to kill. He was then able to make bond, which he later forfeited, and released. On August 14, 1917 the Coroner ordered both men held to Grand Jury when arrested. On October 8, 1917, Johnson was re-arrested after skipping his bond. He was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to hang on June 14, 1918 by Judge McGoorty. On November 21, 1917, William Pisano was arrested at Camp Logan, in Houston, Texas and extradited back to Chicago. Johnson appealed his case and on January 6, 1919 the Supreme Court affirmed his sentence. On December 28, 1919, Johnson was hanged at the Cook County Jail. Pisano was convicted as well and sentenced to the Pontiac Reformatory on a burglary charge. He later escaped and is still at large.
Detective Sergeant Corcoran’s funeral mass was held at St. Andrew Catholic Church located at 3546 North Paulina Street. He was laid to rest on August 16, 1917 in St. Joseph Cemetery, 3100 North Thatcher Avenue, River Grove, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot 34, Block 5, Section J.
Detective Sergeant Martin Joseph Corcoran, born May 23, 1877, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 26, 1906. On November 8, 1913, he was promoted to 2nd Class Detective Sergeant, becoming effective on November 10, 1913 and his title being officially changed by order of the city council on January 11, 1915.
Detective Sergeant Corcoran was survived by his wife, Mary Farrell; children: Anthony, Martin E. and Mary E. and siblings: Anthony, John, Mrs. E. O’Malley, Mrs. H. Feehan and Mrs. W. Carney.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department homicide file, Case #3275.