Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 10 years, 1 month, 24 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Detective Bureau (DB)
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Location of Occurrence: 1403 South Halsted Street
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 36
Date of Birth: 12 Aug 1882
Date of Appointment: 1908
Date of Incident: 15 Feb 1919
End of Watch: 16 Feb 1919
Date of Interment: 11 May 1834
Cemetery: Bohemian National Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 22
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 55
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 43-E: 11
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army - American Expeditionary Forces
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Sergeant James L. Hosna, Star #324, aged 36 years, was a 10 year, 1 month, 24 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Detective Bureau.
On February 15, 1919, Detective Sergeant Hosna went to Patrick Ryan’s saloon located at 1403 South Halsted Street. He went there with the intention of apprehending George Vogel who was wanted for a wagon robbery. The saloon was a well-known hangout for Westside criminals. Detective Sergeant Hosna waited in the saloon in the belief that Vogel would eventually come in. His belief was correct as Vogel arrived at 9:50 p.m. that evening. Vogel pulled up in an automobile driven by Frank Krueger a childhood friend from the Southwest side. Detective Sergeant Hosna confronted Vogel saying hello and asked if he had taken part in a wagon job that was under investigation. Vogel did not respond to the question but instead drew a gun from his coat and fired at point-blank range four times. Detective Sergeant Hosna had no chance to draw his own weapon before he was struck and fell to the floor mortally wounded. As he lay face down on the floor, Vogel stepped over him and fired two more rounds into his back. Vogel then fled the saloon and jumped into his friend’s auto and they both fled the scene making good their escape. Detective Sergeant Hosna was rushed to Cook County Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries in the next day on February 16, 1919.
The getaway car was found later found abandoned at 14th Place and Morgan Street. It had been involved in a crash and was wrapped around a lamppost on the corner. The car was traced back to Krueger and the next day, investigators went to his residence to question him. He denied all knowledge of the incident and also denied being in the company of Vogel the night of the shooting. However several witness accounts contradicted his statements. Patrick Ryan and Charles Pitts, a porter at the saloon, also denied any knowledge of what had transpired after many hours of questioning at the Maxwell Street Station.
Meanwhile a massive manhunt for Vogel was underway. Every man in the Detective Division aided by hundreds of plain-clothes patrolmen combed the city. Under the direction of Chief of Detectives James L. Mooney the men were given orders to capture Vogel dead or alive. The message was also sent out to all Precincts.
On February 19, 1919, Vogel surrendered to the State’s Attorney and was held by the Coroner. During his trial he argued that he shot Detective Sergeant Hosna in self-defense. He contended that the shooting occurred after an argument about graft, which left him feeling threatened. He also claimed that Hosna demanded $300.00 from an auto thief and became angry when Vogel took the money from him in an inebriated state. On June 13, 1919, Vogel was acquitted by Judge Kavanaugh.
Detective Sergeant Hosna was waked at his residence located at 2701 South Avers Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Bohemian National Cemetery. He was laid to rest on February 19, 1919 in Bohemian National Cemetery, 5255 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois.
Detective Sergeant James L. Hosna, born August 12, 1882, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on December 23, 1908. He earned 7 Credible Mentions during his career. On November 8, 1913, he was promoted to the rank of 2nd Class Detective Sergeant, becoming effective on November 10, 1913 and his title being officially changed by order of the city council on January 11, 1915.
Detective Sergeant Hosna served in the U.S. Army – American Expeditionary Forces, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged. He was survived by his wife, Marie (nee Chet); children: Elsie and Myrtle; parents: Anna (nee Blazak) and Frank and siblings: Edward, Emma Kostal, Frank, George, Marie and William.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #3902.