Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 1 year, 3 months, 30 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 15, 31st Precinct - Austin
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 31
Date of Birth: Oct 1875
Date of Appointment: 06 Apr 1906
Date of Incident: 05 Aug 1907
End of Watch: 05 Aug 1907
Date of Interment: 07 Aug 1907
Cemetery: Rosehill Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 9
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 36
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 14-W: 1
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Edward M. Smith, Star #3002, aged 31 years, was a 1 year, 3 month, 30 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 15, 31st Precinct – Austin and detailed to the Mounted Squad.
On August 5, 1907, at 12:30 p.m., Officer Smith, while walking to his home at No. 667 Warren Avenue (present day 2654 W. Warren Avenue), was accosted by an armed offender at the alley on the west side of Washtenaw Avenue between Washington Boulevard and Warren Avenue. The offender fired his gun, striking Officer Smith in the chest. Officer Smith then managed to stagger to his home, which was only 500 feet from the scene of the shooting. He was discovered by his wife, wounded and bleeding, attempting to open the front door. He walked in and collapsed in the entrance hall of the house and said, “That fellow shot me,” and slipped into unconsciousness and died a few minutes later.
The true course of events are unknown, but three theories developed following Officer Smith’s death. The first believed that the attacker was someone Officer Smith had been out with earlier in the day. Officer Smith was out and about all day in his civilian clothes before returning home. The second theory placed blame with three highwaymen who approached him. It was Lieutenant C. C. Healy who believed the first theory to be what took place. Investigators questioned Officer Smith’s wife but she was unable to provide a lot of details. She stated that her husband left the house at 3:00 p.m. with a man she was unacquainted with and that was the last she saw of him. Some neighbors claimed that Theodore Girard, a civil engineer who was believed to be with the Panama Canal previously, was the man who left with Officer Smith. A search for him was conducted at 3:00 a.m. the night of the murder and it is unknown if he was ever found. The third theory was that Officer Smith’s murder was that of revenge. Police arrested Joseph Glazebrook who had made threats against Officer Smith. The two had been seeing the same woman and Glazebrook might have shot him for revenge. Officer Smith’s murder remains unsolved.
Officer Smith was waked at his residence located at No. 667 Warren Avenue (present day 2654 W. Warren Avenue) and was laid to rest on August 7, 1907 in Rosehill Cemetery, 5800 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Edward M. Smith, born in October 1875, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 6, 1906.
Officer Smith was a member of Mount Vernon Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. He was survived by his wife, Mary.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department homicide file, Case #2837.
On October 14, 1910, Officer Smith’s star was retired by General Superintendent LeRoy T. Steward and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, City Hall, 121 North LaSalle Street, Room 505, Office of the Superintendent of Police. Officer Smith’s star was one of fourteen stars added to the newly instituted memorial to preserve the memory of officers killed in the line of duty. The tradition of retiring a star number was born. In 1928, the star case was moved to the lobby in the new Chicago Police Headquarters building at 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters again moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Smith’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.