Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 2 years, 1 month, 2 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 16 - Maxwell
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 31
Date of Birth: 28 Oct 1893
Date of Appointment: 27 Oct 1922
Date of Incident: 23 Nov 1924
End of Watch: 29 Nov 1924
Date of Interment: 02 Dec 1924
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-8
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 16
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 13
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 59-E: 8
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Edward J. Cleary, Star #4220, aged 31 years, was a 2 year, 1 month, 2 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 16 – Maxwell.
On November 23, 1924, at 10:00 p.m., Officer Cleary was working inside the Maxwell Street Police Station when he was approached by Elizabeth Steppin of 1085 West Maxwell Street. Ms. Steppin reported that a black man was loitering near her window in the narrow passageway next to her building. Officer Cleary along with Patrolman Joseph Kucera and Frank Jarvis transported the woman to her house in the patrol wagon. Upon arrival at 1085 West Maxwell Street the officers observed the man loitering in the gangway as reported by Ms. Steppin. Officer Cleary entered the gangway in an attempt to detain the man. As Officer Cleary confronted the man he produced a revolver and fired. Officer Cleary returned fire, firing four times, as the offender fled on foot making good his escape. Patrolman John Foley, who was walking his beat nearby, heard the commotion and also fired at the fleeing man but missed. Officer Edward Cleary sustained a gunshot in the abdomen and was mortally wounded during the incident. Officer Cleary was taken to Cook County Hospital where he died from his wound six days later on November 29, 1924.
On December 4, 1924, the Coroner recommended the arrest of Johnson and the arrest of Minnie Lovejoy of West Liberty Street as an accessory in the belief that she knew the identity of the offender. In December 1924, Minnie Lovejoy was arrested. The December 1924 Grand Jury returned a No Bill on Lovejoy. On March 25, 1927, after several years, Joe Johnson, alias Mike Johnson, was arrested. On April 12, 1927, Johnson was held without bail by Judge Allegretti. The Grand Jury later returned a No Bill on Johnson. The investigation continued and on April 15, 1928, James Gibson was arrested for the murder. On January 15, 1928, Gibson was acquitted. No one was ever found guilty for Officer Cleary’s murder.
Officer Cleary was waked at his residence located at 4337 South Princeton Avenue. His funeral mass was held in Requiem at St. Cecilia Catholic Church located at 4515 South Wells Street. He was laid to rest on December 2, 1924 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Edward J. Cleary, born October 28, 1893, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 27, 1922.
Officer Cleary was survived by his mother, Minnie (nee Radigan) and siblings: Ella, Gertrude and Raymond.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department homicide file, Case #5957.