James  Cooley  | Star #792

Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 19 years, 3 months, 12 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 2 - Pekin Inn

District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central

Location of Occurrence: 2916 South Prairie Avenue

Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy

Age at Time of Death: 47


Date of Birth: 12 May 1879

Date of Appointment: 1907

Date of Incident: 23 Jan 1927

End of Watch: 04 Apr 1927

Date of Interment: 11 May 1834


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
 Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot S6, Block 8, Section 1
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-10

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 19

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 19

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 41-E: 7

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: No Military Record Found


Incident & Biographic Details

Patrolman James Cooley, Star #792, aged 47 years, was a 19 year, 3 month, 12 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 2 – Pekin Inn.

On January 23, 1927, at 10:30 p.m., Officer Cooley was approached by two robbery victims, Dr. Paul M. Anderson and James L. Kotrich. Anderson and Kotrich asked the officer if he could help them locate the offender. Officer Cooley agreed and they began touring the area. Not long after, the victims pointed out the robber, Thomas Pemberton, on the street in front of 2916 South Prairie Avenue. Officer Cooley immediately approached to make the arrest and commanded Pemberton to halt. Officer Cooley, with weapon drawn, pressed his revolver to Pemberton’s back and announced he was under arrest. Before Cooley could say another word, Pemberton quickly turned around with a drawn gun and fired upon Cooley. Cooley was struck in the head at close range, mortally wounded. Pemberton then fled the scene making good his escape.

Mr.’s Anderson and Kotrich quickly loaded Officer Cooley into their car and rushed him to the Hospital. However, the seriousness of Cooley’s injury was not immediately evident and may have been aggravated by the length of time it took to get him to the hospital. Unfortunately, Mr. Anderson, who was driving the car, drove recklessly ignoring traffic lights and was involved in a crash at Monroe Street and Michigan Avenue. He collided with another vehicle injuring Mr. Kotrich in the process. After learning of what had transpired, responding officers then rushed Officer Cooley to St. Luke Hospital. He lingered there for just over two months before succumbing to his injuries on April 4, 1927.

After the crash Mr. Anderson was arrested and taken to the Cottage Grove Avenue station where he was questioned. Anderson stated that he had been trying to take Officer Cooley to Iroquois Memorial Hospital because it was the only one that came to mind. Anderson’s actions caused an hour to pass before Officer Cooley was taken to the hospital.

Pemberton was apprehended only a few hours after the shooting. On January 24, 1927, Pemberton was booked for robbery and assault to murder. On April 4, 1927, his charges were amended to include murder. He was then held by the Coroner. On October 21, 1927, Pemberton was acquitted by Judge McGoorty.

Officer Cooley was waked at his residence located at 7712 South Park Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Dorothy Church located at 450 East 78th Street. He was laid to rest on April 7, 1927 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot S6, Block 8, Section 1.

Patrolman James Cooley, born May 12, 1879, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on December 23, 1907. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career.

Officer Cooley was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Josephine (nee Hunt); children: Anne, James, LaVerne, Lucille, James Raymond and John and siblings: Lucy, Mary and Mrs. F. McMahon. He was preceded in death by his sister, M. Gonsolva.

Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #7828.