Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 20 years, 10 months, 20 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Traffic Division
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 51
Date of Birth: 27 Jun 1884
Date of Appointment: 13 Nov 1914
Date of Incident: 03 Oct 1935
End of Watch: 03 Oct 1935
Date of Interment: 07 Oct 1935
Cemetery: Acacia Park Cemetery - Norridge, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 12
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 38
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 45-E: 4
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman William Harrison Stringfellow, Star #2272, aged 51 years, was a 20 year, 10 month, 20 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Traffic Division.
On October 3, 1935, at 11:17 a.m., Officer Stringfellow was escorting John Beahan, a cashier for the Fred Harvey Restaurant located in Union Station at 500 West Jackson Boulevard, to the nearby Mercantile Trust and Savings Bank at 541 West Jackson Boulevard. Leaving the businesses basement offices, the two encountered the offender ten feet from the main floor ramp leading out to Clinton Street, just north of Jackson Boulevard. Beahan was carrying approximately $3,700.00 to $5,300.00 in a satchel when they were ambushed in a daylight armed robbery. The offender was first observed by Beahan pretending to tie his shoe. Beahan was only a few steps behind Officer Stringfellow when the offender stood up and fired several shots at Officer Stingfellow. The officer had no time to draw his weapon and was struck two times, falling to the floor fatally wounded. Beahan, startled by the gunfire, also fell to the floor hitting his head and dropping the satchel. The offender grabbed the satchel and ran to Clinton Street, where he was joined by three accomplices. The four bandits jumped into a nearby sedan and made good their escape.
Customers inside the station rushed to the scene. One Dr. Walter Aye of Pennsylvania was one of them, who pronounced Officer Stringfellow dead at the scene. Beahan was not shot during the incident.
Detectives believed that the bandits were part of a gang that attempted to rob the University State Bank at 1354 East 55th Street on September 30, 1935. There was a great deal of gunfire exchanged during the robbery and detectives believed that the unprovoked killing of Officer Stringfellow was a pattern set by the bandits. Further investigation revealed that two bullets of differing calibers were recovered from Officer Stringfellow’s body.
On October 4, 1935, Fred Belter, age 29, a dishwasher at the Fred Harvey Restaurant, was arrested by Lieutenant Phil Carroll in the basement of his home located at 2834 North Sacramento. Belter was arrested after a clerk in a Union Station Telegraph Office told investigators that Belter was present at the robbery. Belter had also attempted to send a telegraph to his wife at the above address stating “I’ll have some money tomorrow.” Trying to send the telegraph collect, the telegraph office clerk told him that he would have to pay for the telegram before it could be sent. Belter crumpled the written telegram up threw it in the wastebasket and walked away. On January 16, 1936, John Bucur, age 33, and Benjamin Patilski, age 24, were arrested in connection with Officer Stringfellow's murder.
Officer Stringfellow was waked at his residence located at 6817 North Ottawa Avenue and his funeral mass was held at Edison Park Lutheran Church located at 6626 North Oliphant Avenue. He was laid to rest on October 7, 1935 in Acacia Park Cemetery, 7800 West Irving Park Road, Norridge, Illinois.
Patrolman William Harrison Stringfellow, born June 27, 1884, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on November 13, 1914.
Officer Stringfellow was a Master Mason and a member of the Austin Commandery No. 81 Knights Templars and Ben Franklin Lodge No. 962 AF&AM. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth Henrietta, age 52; son, Raymond William, age 23; mother, Carey (nee Kitchen) and siblings: Adele Holom, Frank Kitchen, Jennie Lendsay and Sadie Soloman.