Death Classification: Performance of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 5 years, 9 months*
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 1st Precinct - Harrison Street Station District
District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central
Cause of Death: Fall - Into Excavation / Shaft
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 18 Jan 1905
Date of Appointment: Mar 1873
Date of Incident: 20 Nov 1878
End of Watch: 01 Dec 1878
Date of Interment: 04 Dec 1878
Cemetery: Calvary Cemetery - Evanston, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 20, Block 14, Section P
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-9
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 8
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall:
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall:
Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman James Keon, Star # Unknown, aged 33 years, was a 5 year, 9 month veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 1st Precinct – Harrison Street Station District.
On November 20, 1878, Officer Keon was on duty and working with Patrolman Lueders. The two officers, having special instructions, were assigned to guard the approaches to a house on Clark Street. A man by the name of Castle McDonald was suspected of being a lookout for a gambling operation. The officers were to keep an eye out for him and so they positioned themselves in different locations and waited. At 3:00 a.m., Officer Keon saw McDonald, James Carroll and Joseph Martin approaching the building. He followed the men to the rear of the building. As Officer Keon entered the darkened alley, he accidentally fell into an open coal shaft in the rear of No. 176 South Clark Street (present day 48 South Clark Street). He sustained severe internal injuries. Other officers were summoned and Officer Keon was pulled from the shaft with difficulty. He was taken to his residence where he received medical attention. Officer Keon, bed ridden, lingered in his home before succumbing to his injuries at 4:00 p.m. on December 1, 1878.
Officer Keon was also a part time special policeman employed by the American District Telegraph Company, in one of their offices. He was a good, efficient, and trustworthy officer, and commanded the respect of all who knew him.
Officer Keon was waked at his residence located at No. 124 West 14th Street (present day 445 West 14th Street), his funeral mass was also held at his residence. He was laid to rest on December 4, 1878 in Calvary Cemetery, 301 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot 20, Block 14, Section P.
Patrolman James Keon received his Probationary Appointment to the Department in March, 1873.
Chicago Police Department homicide file not found for this incident.
On March 2, 2010, Officer Keon’s star was retired by Superintendent Jody P. Weis and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.