Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 43 years, 0 months, 9 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 14th District - Gresham
District of Incident (Present Day): 006 - Gresham
Cause of Death: Aggravated Battery - Cardiac Arrest
Age at Time of Death: 71
Date of Birth: 29 Jun 1863
Date of Appointment: 10 Sep 1891
Date of Incident: 19 Sep 1934
End of Watch: 19 Sep 1934
Date of Interment: 24 Sep 1934
Cemetery: St. James Catholic Church and Cemetery - Lemont, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 37
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 10-W: 8
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Lieutenant James Francis Day, Star #261, aged 71 years, was a 43 year, 0 month, 9 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 14th District – Gresham.
On September 19, 1934, shortly after 11:30 p.m., Lieutenant Day was robbed and beaten. His body was found early the next morning in a vacant lot near 8545 South Green Street, within 100 yards of the Gresham District Station. Lieutenant Day was struck several times about the head and body with a club. Evidence showed Lieutenant Day put up a fight for his life after he was attacked from behind during a robbery. He was struck in the back of the head; his right hand was severely bruised and then suffered a heart attack. Lieutenant Day’s pockets were turned inside out and his wallet was gone when he was found. His wife reported that he cashed his paycheck and had a large sum of money on him when he left his home for work. His empty wallet and revolver, still in his coat pocket, were found at the scene.
William Duba, age 26, a former inmate of an insane asylum was later arrested for loitering at 63rd Street and St. Louis Avenue. While in custody, he gave a full confession to his part in the murder. Duba gave intimate details of the crime and related that he struck Day in the back of the head with a tree limb. Detectives were reluctant to believe Duba due to his known past of mental instability, but he was able to lead detectives to the exact spot Day’s body was found. Detectives continued to conduct a search for the suspected killer, William Randolph, with a bruised eye after he was seen by Patrolman Willie Burke running from spot where Day’s body was found. On November 30, 1934, Randolph was apprehended and arrested for the murder of Lieutenant Day. He stood trial before Judge Charles F. McKinley, was found guilty, and sentenced to life in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet.
Lieutenant Day was waked at his residence located at 5409 South Michigan Avenue. His funeral mass was held in Requiem at St. Anne Roman Catholic Church located at 153 West Garfield Boulevard. He was laid to rest on September 24, 1934 in Sag Bridge Cemetery which is now known as St. James Catholic Church and Cemetery, 10600 South Archer Avenue, Lemont, Illinois.
Lieutenant James Francis Day, born June 29, 1863, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 10, 1891. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career. On March 14, 1898, he was given a Civil Service promotion. On March 24, 1904, he was promoted to Patrol Sergeant. On April 6, 1917, he was promoted to Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Day was survived by his wife, Minnie M. (nee McMahon), age 68; children: Adalaide Murphy, age 39, Bernice O’Grady, age 30, Cyril M., age 37, Dolores McMahon, Dudley, age 32, Hilda Bernice, age 30, Madeline Ursula, age 35, Minnie, age 35, Reverend L. Dudley, Leo Percy, age 43, Leona, age 32, Leonard Dudley, age 32, Madeline Hannagan and Roy Joseph, age 41 and Sister, Edmunda.