Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 11 years, 9 months, 20 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Detective Bureau
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 41
Date of Birth: 23 Oct 1908
Date of Appointment: 24 Sep 1938
Date of Incident: 14 Jul 1950
End of Watch: 14 Jul 1950
Date of Interment: 18 Jul 1950
Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 10, Lot 24, Block 4, Section 9
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 20
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 46
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 25-E: 1
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Edward Thomas Crowley, Sr., Star #929, aged 41 years, was an 11 year, 9 month, 20 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Detective Bureau Robbery Detail.
On July 14, 1950, at approximately 2:10 p.m., Detective Crowley and his partners, Detective Donald Edward McCormick, age 39 and Patrolman Patrick Driscoll, were assigned to make an investigation concerning one Dean Davis. Davis was wanted in connection with the robbery of a Weirton, West Virginia finance company after being identified through his automobile license number. The officers were to inquire as to whether Dean Davis, alias Bernie Davis, age 21, stole $500.00 and had returned to his residence at 2343 West Maypole Avenue belonging to his mother Bernice Davis. With orders to arrest Davis, the officers went to the 2nd floor residence of Dean Davis. Upon arrival, Officer Driscoll waited in the squad car. The two detectives went upstairs and were admitted by a Davis’ wife, Dolores, age 18, who informed the officers that Dean was not there.
Detective Crowley told Dolores that they wanted to look around the apartment to make certain he wasn’t there. The officers entered the apartment and soon became suspicious that someone was hiding in a bedroom clothes closet. Upon looking in the closet they found a man hiding inside in his underwear who denied he was Dean Davis. The man got dressed while the detectives questioned him. Davis, while sitting on the couch was joined by Detective Crowley while he put his shoes on. Unbeknownst to the detectives, Davis had hidden a gun between the cushions. Suddenly when pretending to tie his shoes Davis drew the revolver from under the cushion. He told the detectives, “Don’t move and you won’t get hurt.“ Detective McCormick drew his weapon and immediately fired upon Davis twice. Davis returned fire fatally striking McCormick and as he fell Davis turned towards Detective Crowley. Crowley had at that point drawn his revolver as he saw McCormick fall to the floor. More shots were exchanged between Davis and Crowley. Crowley, mortally wounded, began to struggle with Davis. Davis, attempting to fire again, discovered his gun to be empty. Davis took the gun and used it to beat Crowley in the head before fleeing the scene. Detective Crowley sustained a fractured skull and lacerations to his face from the beating.
Patrolman Driscoll, hearing the gunfire, ran to investigate. Upon arrival he observed Crowley sprawled over a threshold and McCormick lying on the floor in the hall. He immediately called for help. Detectives Crowley and McCormick were rushed to Cook County Hospital where they both died shortly after arriving.
Dean Davis fled the scene and carjacked a car at gunpoint from a local resident before he abandoned the car at 1043 West 14th Street. Responding officers searching the area followed a trail of blood drops to a third floor apartment on 14th Street. Once inside they found Davis hiding once again in a closet. He was found to be suffering from a gunshot wound in the right knee. Also recovered from Davis’ person was the .38 caliber revolver he used to murder the detectives. Dean Davis was taken into custody and admitted to be the man police were looking for. He later confessed to the double murder as well as a third murder he committed in 1949.
Davis stood trial and was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder. He was sentenced to the death penalty. On October 17, 1952, he was executed in the electric chair and pronounced dead at 2:33 a.m.
Detective Crowley was waked at his family’s residence located at 1011 North Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois. His funeral mass was held at St. Giles Catholic Church located at 1045 Columbian Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois. He was laid to rest on July 18, 1950 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 10, Lot 24, Block 4, Section 9.
Detective Edward Thomas Crowley, Sr., born October 23, 1908, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 24, 1938. He earned 10 Credible Mentions and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $300.00 during his Career.
Detective Crowley was a member of the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Vesta (nee Landingham), age 44; children: Edward Thomas, Jr. age 5, James Peter, age 17, Joseph, Margaret Mary, age 15 and Vivian Marie, age 10; mother, Mary Cotton and siblings: Judge Wilbert F., Vivian Urbain and the late John C.