Patrolman Patrick Daniel Beckham | Star #5283
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Patrolman Patrick Daniel Beckham, Star #5283, aged 35 years, was a 8 year, 7 month, 25 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 25th District – Fillmore.
On February 27, 1936, at 1:00 a.m., Detective Beckham was off duty at the Playmore Cafe located at 3824 West Madison Avenue. The bartender, James Lambert of 214 South Campbell Avenue, and the manager, Charles Vito of 3862 West End Avenue, were preparing to close for the night. Mr. Vito informed Frank McNally (aka Frank Gillespie), a recent parolee from the Joliet Penitentiary, the cafe was closing and he was asked to leave the premise. McNally then went to the bathroom, where he remained for several minutes, and returned with a gun in his hand, announcing a holdup. McNally then ordered the three men into the washroom. Officer Beckham was the last to enter the washroom and waited until McNally’s attention was diverted. He drew his handgun and ordered McNally to drop his gun. McNally now recognized Beckham to be a policeman, cursed him and then opened fire. Beckham was shot twice, once in the left shoulder the other in the left arm. Officer Beckham was able to return fire, striking McNally four times, three times in the abdomen and once in the jaw. McNally died of his wounds a short time later on scene. Officer Beckham was transported to West Side Hospital where he had an operation to remove the bullet from his shoulder. He would later succumbed to his wounds from complications on October 13, 1936. He had not been able to work after being wounded by gunshot.
Officer Beckham was waked at Martin Brothers Funeral Home located at 3150 West Harrison Street. His funeral mass was held at Resurrection Church. He was laid to rest on October 16, 1936 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot N9, Block 11, Section 25.
Patrolman Patrick Daniel Beckham, born June 18, 1901, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on February 18, 1928 and was issued Star #5056. On November 19, 1930, he was issued Patrolman Star #5283 after reporting his previous star missing. He was awarded the Tribune Hero Award for February of 1936 as a result of this incident. When Officer Beckham was informed about the Hero Award he stated; “There isn’t much to say about the shooting. Even though I was off duty, I felt it my duty to stop that holdup. As a matter of fact I didn’t even realize i was wounded until after it was all over.”
Officer Beckham was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Mary Loretta (nee Daly), age 31 and children: Mary Loretta, age 12 and Patricia Ann, age 3; parents: Daniel (CPD) and Mary (nee Airey) and sister: Mrs. Thomas Toomey.