Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 13 years, 8 months, 9 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 24, 40th Precinct - Lincoln Park
District of Incident (Present Day): 018 - Near North
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 40
Date of Birth: 09 Dec 1875
Date of Appointment: 15 Jan 1903
Date of Incident: 21 Sep 1916
End of Watch: 24 Sep 1916
Date of Interment: 27 Sep 1916
Cemetery: St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery - Niles, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-3
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 23
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 48
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 33-E: 4
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Sergeant John N. Bialk, Star #474, aged 40 years, was a 13 year, 8 month, 9 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 24, 40th Precinct – Lincoln Park.
On September 21, 1916, Mrs. Nellie M. Acker, a landlady, went to the North Halsted Street station, and reported that a boarder, Charles N. Depew, had chased her from her home the day before. She also reported that Depew threatened to kill her and other boarders of the home. She was requesting a police escort to enter her home and remove Depew. An officer at the station house told Mrs. Depew to go back to her residence and wait for an officer, who would arrive shortly. She left the station and returned to her home. Detective Sergeant John Bialk was then dispatched to investigate the reports of the man who was threatening people. He was sent to a rooming house located at 1925 North Park Avenue (present day Lincoln Park West).
At 2:20 p.m., Detective Sergeant Bialk arrived and met Mrs. Acker. As they entered the home, Detective Sergeant Bialk confronted Depew. In response Depew produced a firearm and shot Mrs. Acker. Detective Sergeant Bialk attempted to disarm Depew and in the process was also shot in the abdomen. It had been thirty minutes since Detective Sergeant Bialk had been dispatched and reports began to come in to the station of the shooting. Depew was now running around the house waving his gun at other boarders. Additional police were dispatched to the scene and Detective Sergeant Bialk was transported to Alexian Brothers Hospital. Depew then surrendered without incident. After placing Depew in custody he was taken to Alexian Brothers Hospital so Detective Sergeant Bialk could identify him as his shooter before he died. Detective Sergeant Bialk lingered in the hospital and succumbed to his injuries three days later on September 24, 1916.
On September 29, 1916, Depew was charged with intentional manslaughter and held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner. On January 9, 1917, he was acquitted of all charges by Judge Fitch.
Detective Sergeant Bialk was waked at his residence located at 2110 North High Street (present day Janssen Avenue). He was laid to rest on September 27, 1916 in St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery, 6800 North Milwaukee Avenue, Niles, Illinois.
Detective Sergeant John N. Bialk, born December 9, 1875, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on January 15, 1903. On November 8, 1913, he was promoted to 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 Bialk was survived by his wife, Martha B. and children: Agnes, Elizabeth, Florian, Helen and Margaret.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department homicide file, Case #3042.