Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Park District Police Department
Served: 13 years*
Unit of Assignment / Detail: South Section
District of Incident (Present Day): 009 - Deering
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 37
Date of Birth: 11 Nov 1900
Date of Appointment: 08 Apr 1905
Date of Incident: 26 Mar 1938
End of Watch: 26 Mar 1938
Date of Interment: 30 Mar 1938
Cemetery: Resurrection Catholic Cemetery - Justice, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot SO 1/2 156, Block --, Section 23
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case:
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 20
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 41
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 9-W: 10
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Park Policeman Martin Joseph Wolski, Star #559, aged 37 years, was a 13 year veteran of the Chicago Park District Police Department, assigned to the South Section.
On March 26, 1938, Officer Wolski, while on patrol, in uniform were making rounds of McKinley Park in an auto driven by his brother-in-law, Louis Czapski. As the two approached what was known as ‘Lover’s Lane’ at 3500 South Damen Avenue Officer Wolski noticed something out of place. They observed an old model sedan with both its front doors open and two suspicious men standing next to it. Czapski continued driving and moved the car to a short bend in the road approximately 100 feet from the men in order to conceal their presence from the two men. Officer Wolski told Czapski that he did not like the look of the situation and told him to stay in the car as he went to investigate on foot.
Wolski approached the car with only his flashlight in hand. It is not known what transpired after this, but it was only a short time later that Czapski heard six shots being fired and immediately ran from the car to investigate. Arriving on scene, Czapski observed Officer Wolski lying in the road mortally injured. Wolski’s hat was on the ground nearby and his gun, fired twice, was at his side. The offenders made good their escape on foot northbound through the park. Officer Wolski was shot in the head, shoulder and hand. He was taken to Evangelical Deaconess Hospital unconscious and would never awake succumbing to his wounds on March 26, 1938.
It was believed that the offenders were in their late teens and had been robbing couples in the park. In April 1938, four members of a gang, Victor Labuckas, Felix Loraitis, Bruno Murzydlo and Bruno Panavas were arrested and tried for robberies committed in parks. They were all found guilty and each were sentenced to 1 year in prison. The killers of Officer Wolski were never identified.
Officer Wolski was waked at a chapel located at 3756 South Paulina Street. His funeral mass was held at St. Joseph and St. Ann Church located at 2751 West 38th Place. He was laid to rest on March 30, 1938 in Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, 7201 Archer Avenue, Justice, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot SO 1/2 156, Block –, Section 23.
Park Policeman Martin Joseph Wolski, born November 11, 1900, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Park District Police Department in 1925.
Officer Wolski served in the U.S. Army from July 5, 1918 thru April 16, 1919 in Company 8, 161st Regiment D. B., was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private. He was survived by his wife, Rose (nee Czapski), age 34; twin children: Robert Martin, age 10 and Rose Marie, age 10 and siblings: Andrew, Anna, Frank, Jacob and Leo.
The Chicago Park District Police Department, in the City of Chicago, was disbanded on December 31, 1957. On January 1, 1958, the remaining officers were transferred to the Chicago Police Department through an intergovernmental agreement. Fallen officers of the Chicago Park District Police Department are currently honored on the memorial wall of the Chicago Police Department as Chicago Police Officers. Their stars are displayed in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.