Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 10 years, 1 month, 14 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 27th District - Warren
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 34
Date of Birth: 06 Jun 1899
Date of Appointment: 08 Jun 1922
Date of Incident: 22 Jul 1933
End of Watch: 22 Jul 1933
Date of Interment: 25 Jul 1933
Cemetery: Mount Olive Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 15
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 35
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 60-E: 6
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Elmer Richard Ostling, Star #1189, aged 34 years, was a 10 year, 1 month, 14 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 27th District – Warren.
On July 22, 1933, at 9:30 p.m., Officer Ostling and his partner, Patrolman John Skopek, were on patrol when they observed an auto with three suspicious males matching a description of a stolen auto driving Westbound on Washington Boulevard. The vehicle had been stolen three weeks earlier and was being used in the commission of crimes. As the occupants of the car spotted the officers, they sped off in an attempt to get away. The officers initiated a pursuit and were able to force the car to the curb in front of 2838 West Washington Boulevard. The officers then began to approach the car to question the occupants. When they were within a few feet of reaching the car two of the occupants exited the vehicle and opened fire on the officers. Both officers were shot several times and were only able to return fire one time each before they collapsed to the pavement. Officer Skopek was so close to his shooter the muzzle flash from the revolver burned his face, he was shot six times by .45 caliber and .380 millimeter rounds. Officer Ostling was shot five times by .45 caliber rounds. As Officer Ostling fell, he slid off the curb and came to rest under the bandit’s stolen car. It was at this time that the gunman got back into the car, one being helped by his accomplice, after suffering a gunshot wound in the exchange. The car then sped off running over Officer Ostling’s body. The auto fled Westbound on Washington Boulevard before turning northbound onto Francisco Avenue.
By this time traffic had become congested as hundreds of citizens crowded around the wounded officers. Four of those citizens picked up Officer Ostling’s body and placed him into the squad car and rushed him to Franklin Boulevard Hospital. As he lay in the bed he repeated “They didn’t give us a chance, they didn’t give us a chance,” according to the Chicago Daily Tribune. Officer Ostling died one half hour later just as his wife, who was escorted by Patrolman Otto Jicha, approached his hospital room. Another citizen picked up Officer Skopek’s body and rushed him to Washington Boulevard Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The stolen auto was eventually recovered in front of 1829 West Huron Street with a blood stained back seat.
On October 8, 1937, two inmates, Edward Moorehead and James Progue, age 28, at the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet attempted to escape. The men were sentenced to prison in 1934 for their parts in other unrelated crimes. Progue was apprehended and Moorehead was shot during the escape and died two days later on October 10, 1937. A third man, Sam Turriano, age 22, had also been sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet in 1934, but his sentence was shorter. He was transferred to Pontiac Reformatory in July of 1934 and then paroled in December 1936. It wasn’t until February of 1937 that the first information implicating the three men in the officer’s murder surfaced. On October 10, 1937, Progue confessed to the murders and he named two accomplices, Edward Moorehead and Sam Turriano. On November 11, 1937, Progue entered a plea of guilty. On December 12, 1937, Turriano also entered a plea of guilty. Both men stood trial and were sentenced to serve 199 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet.
Officer Ostling was waked at F. W. Kochspeier Funeral Home located at 2410 West North Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Peter’s Evangelical Church located at 8013 Laramie Street, Niles Center (present day Skokie), Illinois. He was laid to rest on July 25, 1933 in Mount Olive Cemetery, 3800 North Narragansett Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Elmer Richard Ostling, born June 6, 1899, received a Temporary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on August 11, 1919 prior to his Probationary Appointment to the Department on June 8, 1922. He earned 3 Credible Mentions and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $180.00 during his career.
Officer Ostling was survived by his wife, Blanche (nee Wilcox), age 32 and daughter, Corinne Virginia, age 10.