Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 32 years, 8 months, 23 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 32nd District - Shakespeare
District of Incident (Present Day): 014 - Shakespeare
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 57
Date of Birth: 12 Mar 1898
Date of Appointment: 27 Oct 1922
Date of Incident: 05 Jul 1955
End of Watch: 19 Jul 1955
Date of Interment: 23 Jul 1955
Cemetery: Forest Home Cemetery - Forest Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-3
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 9
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 48
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 35-E: 13
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Albert Horace Brown, Sr., Star #2806, aged 57 years, was a 32 year, 8 month, 23 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 32nd District – Shakespeare.
On July 5, 1955, Officer Brown was on duty working as a Lockup Keeper. While at the front desk one of the prisoners, Robert DiCocco, alias Ronald C. Dean, age 16 of 2141 West Caton Street, was able to pick his cell lock and enter an outer office in the lockup. DiCocco stole Officer Brown’s service revolver from a desk drawer. As Officer Brown returned to the lockup area the killer attacked him and shot him in the abdomen. Although seriously wounded, Officer Brown continued to struggle with the assailant and regained control of his service weapon before the gunman escaped. Officer Brown was transported to Alexian Brothers Hospital where he succumbed to the gunshot wound ten days later on July 19, 1955. Robert DiCocco was apprehended two days later.
On July 7, 1955, Robert DiCocco was captured at North Avenue Beach By Detective Anthony Osterkorn and Juvenile Officer William Touhey and was held on an Assault to Kill charge. Police had received a tip that DiCocco frequented the beach, and six men were assigned to look for him. Osterkorn and Touhey were walking on a path in Lincoln Park, south of North Avenue, near the anti-aircraft gun emplacement. Both policemen had pictures of DiCocco. Detective Osterkorn spotted Dean from 300 feet and after the officers had confronted him the youth readily admitted his identity, saying: “You got me. I’m the one who shot the policeman.“ Osterkorn took 11 bullets of .38 caliber from DiCocco’s pockets. Osterkorn and Touhey called a police wagon and took Dean to Alexian Brothers Hospital and to Patrolman Brown’s room, where they asked him: “Do you know that man?“ “That’s the policeman I shot,“ Dean replied. Brown, who was in critical condition with wounds in the left hand, right arm, and abdomen, nodded his head at DiCocco, but was unable to speak.
At the Shakespeare Avenue Station, Lester Shapiro, Assistant State’s Attorney, and a court reporter questioned DiCocco. DiCocco said he found a beer can opener in his cell with which he pried loose a wire mesh to get into the room where the lockup keeper’s gun was kept. He searched the desk and took out the policeman’s .38 caliber revolver and six extra shells from the gun belt. DiCocco said he could not get out the general lockup door, so he waited until Brown came thru the door. DiCocco said Brown told ‘him, “You’re not going to shoot me,“ and kept walking toward Dean. Dean said the policeman kept coming, pulled the trigger twice, and then ran to the street. Dean said he slept in a hall way Wednesday night, July 6th, and made his way early, July 8th, to the North Avenue Beach. DiCocco, a former inmate of the Illinois State Training School for Boys in Kane County, had been arrested Monday, July 4, 1955, at 2140 Concord Place by North Avenue police on a charge of tampering with an automobile. He faced return to the training school as a parole violator.
DiCocco was indicted and on July 21, 1955 and a True Bill was returned from the Grand Jury. Robert DiCocco was tried and convicted. On December 13, 1955, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Joliet State Penitentiary by Judge James R. Bryant.
Officer Brown was waked at Olson Funeral Home located at 3234 West North Avenue, his funeral mass was also held at Olson Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on July 23, 1955 in Forest Home Cemetery, 863 Desplaines Avenue, Forest Park, Illinois.
Patrolman Albert Horace Brown, Sr., born March 12, 1898, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 22, 1922. He earned 3 Credible Mentions and 2 Extra Compensations for Meritorious Conduct totaling $420.00 during his career.
Officer Brown was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association and the Greater Chicago Lodge No. 3, Loyal Order of Moose. He was survived by his wife, Hattie (nee Brunke), age 57; sons: Albert Horace, Jr., age 19 and Walter Albert, age 26; siblings: Chester, Ethel Miller and Lillian and grandson, Kenneth. He was preceded in death by his parents: Albert Horace, Sr. and Lisette (nee Nielson). On November 17, 1955, Albert Horace, Jr. died in an automobile crash.
I am Tony Osterkorn’s granddaughter and often wondered if Officer Brown was memorialized. I’d like to attend your next memorial. I was very close to my grandpa.