Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 14 years, 2 months, 16 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 23rd District - Marquette
District of Incident (Present Day): 011 - Harrison
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 43
Date of Birth: 14 Feb 1993
Date of Appointment: 07 Jun 1922
Date of Incident: 23 Aug 1936
End of Watch: 23 Aug 1936
Date of Interment: 27 Aug 1936
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot N31, Block 11, Section B
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-1
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 11
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 39
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 30-E: 15
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman John J. Freichel, Star #3710, aged 43 years, was a 14 year, 2 month, 16 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 23rd District – Marquette.
On August 23, 1936, Officer Freichel was off duty and in a tavern located at 759 South Kedzie Avenue. After enjoying a one beer he got up to leave. As he was leaving the tavern, Sam La Sasso an ex-convict who Freichel had arrested several times in the past was entering the tavern. La Sasso recognized Freichel as he opened the screen door. La Sasso mumbled a few words about getting even before drawing a weapon and firing three rounds at Freichel. La Sasso then fled, exiting the tavern and running east down Polk Street before he turned down the alley which runs behind the tavern. Freichel, shot three times in the back by La Sasso, stumbled and drew his weapon. He ran through the tavern to the back door in an attempt to head La Sasso off in the alley. Officer Freichel collapsed to the ground next to the tavern’s back door. La Sasso continued to run northbound through the alley to Lexington Street and then Westbound to Kedzie Avenue. It was at this time he stopped pointed his own weapon at his head and fired one shot. He then fired two shots into his body in an apparent suicide attempt. Officer Freichel was transported to Bethany Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries later in the same day. La Sasso was transported to Cook County Hospital where he languished for two weeks before dying on August 27, 1936.
Officer Freichel was waked at a chapel located at 3424 West 63rd Street. His funeral mass was held at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church located at 3721 West 62nd Street. He was laid to rest on August 27, 1936 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, 3801 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot N31, Block 11, Section B.
Patrolman John J. Freichel, born February 14, 1893, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 7, 1922. He earned 11 Credible Mentions and 4 Extra Compensations for Meritorious Conduct totaling $780.00 during his career.
Officer Freichel was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association and the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Beatrice (nee Slama), age 38; daughter, June L., age 18; father, Conrad and siblings: Charles, Mathew, Mrs. Joseph Dousa and the late Barbara Smith.