Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: South Park Police Department
Served: 4 years*
Unit of Assignment / Detail: B District
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 30
Date of Birth: 14 Sep 1892
Date of Appointment: 01 Apr 1905
Date of Incident: 26 Jan 1922
End of Watch: 27 Jan 1922
Date of Interment: 30 Jan 1922
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 1, Block 4, Section A
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 11
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 58
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 22-E: 10
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Park Policeman Harry Joseph Busse, Star #289, aged 30 years, was a 4 year veteran of the South Park Police Department, assigned to the B District.
On January 26, 1922, Officer Busse attempted to take action, off duty, as he was approached by two armed robbers, Frank Lee, age 16, and Charles Shader, age 19, at Garfield Boulevard and Federal Street. Officer Busse was walking east on Garfield Boulevard at the time and a half a block ahead of him were Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Shoger. The robbers approached him and as he drew his gun he was shot in the face by Shader and fatally wounded. Officer Busse was unconscious when help reached him. He was transported to German Deaconess Hospital. Physicians said his death would come in a matter of hours and he had not regained consciousness by midnight. He died from his wounds the following day on January 27, 1922.
Lee and Shader were eventually arrested. Charles Shader, during questioning, admitted to police that he shot Policeman Busse. His mother was also arrested when it was discovered that she had directed her son and his accomplice in more than 200 robberies and other crimes. It was also discovered that he had recently been freed for killing his father, after testifying that he did so to protect his mother. Later Shader’s sister shot and killed herself, but after his arrest he told police that his mother killed her when she refused to participate in their life of crime.
On September 13, 1922, Frank Lee and Chase Shader were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. On May 5, 1926, Chase Shader was part of a prison break that took the life of Illinois Department of Corrections Deputy Warden Peter Klein who was stabbed and beaten to death with a knife and scissors. Coincidentally he broke out with another inmate, Charles “Slim” Duschkowski, who was also sentenced to life for the murder of Sergeant Terrence Lyons of the West Park Police Department on May 10, 1922. He enjoyed his freedom for only a short time before being caught. He along with the five other escapees was sentenced to death for Warden Klein’s murder. On March 12, 1927, Shader and five other inmates staged a daring escape, the second for Shader, from the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. He was one of three suspects subdued by guards while the other three escaped. He escaped again in June of 1927 and was recaptured by an off duty Chicago Policeman a year later. On October 10, 1928, he earned the dubious honor of being the last person to be hanged in Illinois.
Officer Busse’s funeral was held in Requiem at St. Martin Catholic Church located at 5842 South Princeton Avenue. He was laid to rest on January 30, 1922 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, 3801 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot 1, Block 4, Section A.
Park Policeman Harry Joseph Busse, born September 14, 1892, received his Probationary Appointment to the South Park Police Department in 1918.
Officer Busse served in the U.S. Army from May 3, 1918 thru February 26, 1919 in the Medical Corps, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged. He was survived by his fiancée, Nelle; mother, Elizabeth (nee Reiff); brother, William and sister.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department homicide file, Case #5718.
The South Park Police Department, in the City of Chicago, was disbanded on April 30, 1934. On May 1, 1934, the remaining officers were transferred to the Chicago Park District Police Department, which was organized on the same date. Three park district police departments, Lincoln, West, and South were consolidated into the Chicago Park District Police Department. Fallen officers of the South Park Police Department are currently honored on the memorial wall of the Chicago Police Department as Chicago Police Officers. Their stars are displayed in the Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.
Harry Busse was my great- uncle, an older brother of my paternal grandmother Martha [Busse] Scharres. What I can add to this account is the fact that he was survived by his mother and nine of his ten siblings. His father had predeceased him in 1918. He grew up in the neighborhood in which he served, at 5410 S Princeton Ave, Chicago. Harry’s father had emigrated from Germany, and his mother from Luxembourg. His father William Busse built a very successful saloon business in the neighborhood, at 5408 S Princeton, and built the family home next door. Although William was not Catholic, his children were all raised Catholic in accord with his wife’s wishes, and the family were substantial supporters of St. Martin’s parish, where all the children, including Harry, went to school. My father Harry J Scharres (RIP 1996) was named after his uncle Harry, whose death occurred when my grandmother was pregnant with my dad.