Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 0 months, 23 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 5th District - Wabash
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 38
Date of Birth: 07 May 1908
Date of Appointment: 09 Feb 1944
Date of Incident: 14 Feb 1947
End of Watch: 03 Mar 1947
Date of Interment:
Cemetery: Laurel Hill Cemetery - Erie, Pennsylvania
Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot 16, Block --, Section 15
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 45
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 12W: 11
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Louis A. Abbott, Star #762, aged 38 years, was a 3 year, 0 month, 23 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 5th District – Wabash.
On February 14, 1947, Detective Abbott was investigating a series of robberies in the 5th and 27th Districts with Detectives Louis Cella and Barney Halperin. All three of the Detectives were able to take two of the men involved into custody. Another detail of officers stationed at 5244 South Dearborn Street, the apartment of a third suspect William McKinley, 33, learned of his whereabouts. The officers on the detail nabbed a teenager, John Forsythe, who related that McKinley had sent him there to pick up clothing. Forsythe said that he had last seen McKinley at the corner of 43rd Street and St. Lawrence Avenue. It was certain that McKinley would be found and arrested.
At 11:10 p.m., Detectives Abbott, Cella and Halperin went to the location in search of McKinley but were unable to find him. Detectives Cella and Halperin decided to give up the hunt for that evening at 11:00 p.m. and returned to the station. Detective Abbott decided to continue looking for McKinley. At 11:10 p.m., Detective Abbott located McKinley at 53rd and State Streets. As Abbott attempted to question McKinley the ex-convict drew a gun and shot the detective. Abbott was struck in his liver and despite being critically wounded Abbott drove himself to Provident Hospital.
Approximately 15 minutes after Detectives Cella and Halperin returned to the station they received a report that Detective Abbott was being treated for a gunshot wound at Provident Hospital. The identity of Abbotts shooter was discovered and a massive manhunt was begun for McKinley. The manhunt spread across the city and on February 15, 1947, at 3:30 a.m., McKinley was located by officers and a gunfight ensued. McKinley was shot in the head and chest multiple times dying on scene. Detective Abbott clung to life for three weeks in the hospital before succumbing to his injuries 20 days later on March 3, 1947, outliving his killer.
Detective Abbott was described by the Chief of the Uniformed Force, Raymond Crane, as “one of the finest detectives I know,“ according to the Chicago Times. Crane had claimed that Abbott had made ten times more burglary arrests than any other man in the Department. Captain Jerome Looney of the Wabash Avenue Station said Abbott often worked 24 hours straight while on a case. Abbott was called one of the bravest men in the police department by his coworkers and had become known for his fearlessness in hunting south side law breakers. He was remembered by others as a “lone wolf“ who dedicated many of his off duty hours to hunting criminals. He was also the partner of Detective Bernard L. Halperin for many years, Halperin would also be slain in the line of duty on December 20, 1957.
Tragically, Detective Barney Halperin would also be killed in the line of duty just over 10 years after this incident on December 20, 1957.
Detective Abbott was laid to rest in Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue, Erie Pennsylvania. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot 16, Block –, Section 15.
Detective Louis A. Abbott, born May 7, 1908, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on February 9, 1944. He earned 3 Credible Mentions and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $120.00. Prior to becoming a Chicago Policeman Abbott was a policeman in Breedsville, Michigan.
Detective Abbott was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Dagny W. (nee Nordin), age 35; children: Joanne and Louis A., Jr.; parents: Clarence Walter and Mable Wilhelmina (nee Buckley) and sister, Evelyn L. Forsyth.
In June 1962, the police department honored Detective Abbott’s memory by naming the brand new M-1 police boat in the Department’s Marine Unit after him.