Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 9 years, 7 months, 7 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 18th District - Stock Yards
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 37
Date of Birth: 09 Jul 1912
Date of Appointment: 13 Feb 1940
Date of Incident: 20 Sep 1949
End of Watch: 20 Sep 1949
Date of Interment: 23 Sep 1949
Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 3, Lot E38, Block 10, Section 23
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 6
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 46
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 64-W: 15
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Navy
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman David Francis Keating, Sr., Star #2259, aged 37 years, was a 9 year, 7 month, 7 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 18th District – Stock Yards.
On September 20, 1949, at 1:30 a.m., Officer Keating while on duty was standing on a corner at Root Street and Wentworth Avenue talking with some friends. During the conversation he observed two suspicious boys, Sydney Johnson, age 17, and Roosevelt Baccus, age 15, across the street carrying a package which looked like a wrapped shotgun. He cut short his conversation to go investigate. He said goodbye to his friends who told him to be careful and then stepped into a nearby tavern. Officer Keating caught up to the boys at 140 West Root Street. As he approached them, one of the two fired numerous shots from a .32 caliber automatic machine gun, three of which rounds struck him. Officer Keating’s friends weren’t inside the tavern for a moment when they heard the gunfire. They rushed outside and found Officer Keating lying shot on the sidewalk. He was transported to Evangelical Hospital, dying en route, where he was pronounced dead on arrival on September 20, 1949.
Soon after the shooting over 100 policemen searched the district for the offenders. Their first clue came when they located Ella Evans, age 16, who was the girlfriend of one of the offenders. The offenders were eventually identified and later turned themselves in to an Patrolman Lester Davidson who was off duty at the time. The boys gave a full confession to the murder of Officer Keating, stating that Johnson fired the shots from an automatic pistol which he was carrying. They said that they had just left the home of Ella Evans of 4121 South Wentworth Avenue when Officer Keating had seen them. Also recovered was the automatic pistol used to murder Keating and the shotgun he had suspected the boys were carrying. The package they were carrying contained a 12 gauge shotgun which the boys hid in a manhole at the Southwest corner of 39th and Dearborn Streets, where it was recovered.
On September 21, 1949, Sidney Johnson and Roosevelt Baccus were held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner on a charge of murder and indicted. Sydney Johnson was found guilty of 1st degree murder. On May 26, 1950 he was sentenced to death in the electric chair and was given 4 stays of execution over the following 11 months. On April 18, 1951, Governor Adalai E. Stevenson commuted Johnson’s sentence to 199 years in prison. The murder charge on Roosevelt Baccus was eventually dropped. He was found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to serve 5 to 14 years in prison.
Officer Keating was waked at McPhee Funeral Home located at 7133 South Western Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Thomas More Church located at 2825 West 81st Street. He was laid to rest on September 23, 1949 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 3, Lot E38, Block 10, Section 23.
Patrolman David Francis Keating, Sr., born July 9, 1912, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on February 13, 1940. He took a 2 1/2 year leave of absence from the Department to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Officer Keating served in the U.S. Navy for 2 1/2 years, was a veteran of World War II and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of Division No.6 Ancient Order of Hibernians, Chicago Police Post No. 207 American Legion, Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association and St. Jude League. Officer Keating was survived by his wife, Dorothy (nee Renard), age 33 and children: David Francis, Jr., Kathleen, Maureen, and Robert and siblings: Catherine Leonard, Ma Harley, Margaret Keating, Mary, Nancy Cotter and Robert.