Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 7 years, 4 months, 23 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 9, 23rd Precinct - Hinman
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 29
Date of Birth: 12 Feb 1905
Date of Appointment: 13 Aug 1891
Date of Incident: 05 Jan 1899
End of Watch: 05 Jan 1899
Date of Interment: 08 Jan 1899
Cemetery: St. Boniface Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot S 1/2 3, Block 2, Section F
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # A-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 23
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 29
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 25-E: 6
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Edward J. Wallner, Star #1533, aged 28 years, was a 7 year, 4 month, 23 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 9, 23rd Precinct – Hinman.
On January 5, 1899, at 6:00 p.m., Six highway men, Charles Peterson, alias Frank Ford, Fred Jones, alias Sam Ritch, Edward Lally, alias Edward Murphy, Thomas McFadden, alias Mickey, Frank Senoni and Albert Stiles entered Borrmann’s dry goods store located at No. 832 West 21st Street (present day 2001 West 21st Street). The owner, Mr. Borrmann and his employee, Charles G. Carlson were alone in the store. Mr. Borrmann was in his office at the front of the store, while Carlson was standing near the stove at the back of the store. Upon entering the store, one of the six bandits stationed themselves near the front door. The other five went to the rear of the store. As Carlson turned to greet the men, he discovered two pistols starring him in the face. One bandit said, “Now be good, where is the man in the other room?” The bandit was referring to a third employee who was a cutter. Carlson told him he wasn’t at work, at which time the bandit went to verify his claim. After, the bandits took a gold watch, valued at $60.00, a $5.00 bill and a silver dollar from Carlson. At the same time, Mr. Borrmann was under guard with a pistol pressed to the back of his head by one of the other bandits. The bandits then moved on to the cash drawer where they took $35.00 in silver and bills. Realizing there was nothing else they could steal, the robbers then proceeded to leave as a German woman was walking in to make a purchase. Paying no attention to her, the bandits walked out.
As the bandits walked down the street, an errand boy employed by the store, Herman Kirchoff, age 17, arrived at the corner. He observed the robbers walking and overheard them say, “How much did you get? Go on across the street. Don’t all get in a bunch.” Kirchoff realized the situation and ran across the street into Engel’s Saloon where he alerted Officer Wallner and his partner, Patrolman John McCauley who were working in plainclothes. It was now 6:15 p.m., the officers drew their weapons and ran down Robey Street (present day Damen Avenue) to 21st Place. Upon arrival they observed four the bandits on 21st Street near Lincoln Street (present day Wolcott Street), a block east of Robey Street. The bandits were at the mouth of an alley just south of 21st Street when the officers shouted for them to hold up their hands. The officers continued to advance on the robbers and one of the bandits made a faint as if to draw their revolvers. It was at this time Officer McCauley fired a round into the air. By this time the officers were less than ten feet from the bandits when a gunfight broke out.
Officers McCauley and Wallner both returned fire, shooting four times each. The bandits fired ten times. Officer McCauley shot in the right wrist and his side and Officer Wallner was mortally wounded in the chest. Five of the bandits then fled on foot in the dark alley and the sixth ran Southbound on Lincoln Street and was then seen jumping over a railing dropping ten feet to the ground below. Officer Wallner then walked unaided into the saloon of Edward Anderson located at 22nd Street and Lincoln Street over 150 feet away from where he was shot. He sat down on a table with his back to the wall and asked Mr. Anderson to send for a doctor. Officer McCauley gave chase to the lone bandit Southbound on Lincoln. He eventually lost sight of him in a vacant lot. He then went to a Patrol Box and summoned help from the Hinman Street Station. Unbeknownst to Officer McCauley help had already been summoned from the Patrol Box at 21st and Robey Streets reporting the robbery. A patrol wagon was dispatched accompanied by Lieutenant Ptacek. While en route the wagon observed one of the bandits running down the street, but had no idea that the shooting had occurred and no attempt was made to stop the man. The wagon arrived at Borrmann’s and was informed of the direction in which the robbers had fled. They hastened down 21st Street where they met Officer McCauley who informed them of the shooting. The wagon then rushed to Anderson’s saloon where the located Officer Wallner who was rapidly growing weak from his wound. They transported him to Cook County Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:56 p.m. on January 5,1899. Officer McCauley was also taken to Cook County Hospital where he was treated and released.
On January 19, 1899, Charles Peterson, Fred Jones, Thomas McFadden, Edward Lally, and Albert Stiles were arrested and held by the Coroner’s Jury. Frank Senoni was also later arrested and held as an accessory. On June 24, 1899, Edward Lally, Frederick Jones, Michael McFadden and Charles Peterson were all sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge Stein. One was sentenced to life, two were sentenced to 25 years, and one was sentenced to 14 years. A 5th suspect was acquitted.
Officer Wallner was laid to rest on January 8, 1899 in St. Boniface Cemetery, 4901 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot S 1/2 3, Block 2, Section F.
Patrolman Edward J. Wallner, born in 1870, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on August 13, 1891.
Officer Wallner was survived by his wife and brother, John (CPD). His brother was a Desk Sergeant at the Desplaines Street Station and his father, Simon Wallner, was the former Alderman of the 10th Ward.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department homicide file, Case #2619.
In February 1958, Officer Wallner’s star was retired by Commissioner Timothy J. O’Connor and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Wallner’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.