Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 13 years, 9 months, 27 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 5th District - Wabash
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 40
Date of Birth: 29 May 1892
Date of Appointment: 23 May 1919
Date of Incident: 21 Mar 1933
End of Watch: 21 Mar 1933
Date of Interment: 27 Mar 1933
Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 25, Lot --, Block 6, Section 12
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 4
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 34
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 56-E: 9
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: YES, Branch Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Roscoe Conklin Johnston, Star #3227, aged 40 years, was a 13 year, 9 month, 27 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 5th District – Wabash.
On March 21, 1933, at 9:35 a.m., Officer Johnston observed three armed robbers enter the office of the Gordan Bakery Company located at 5324 South Federal Street. The bandits entered the bakery without seeing Officer Johnston and immediately began rounding up the bakery’s employees. Two of the offenders entered the bakery with guns drawn and took the purchasing agent and phone operator upstairs to the cashier’s cage. A third bandit with a sawed-off shotgun soon joined them. Officer Johnston was waiting inside a second floor storeroom observing the robbery as it unfolded in order to make sure that he was not surprised by additional members of the gang. The bandits were in the middle of stealing the bakery’s receipts when Officer Johnston emerged from a door behind the cashier. He waited to emerge until the bandits were all occupied. The cashier, M. H. Axelrod, was just ordered to hand over a bag containing $200.00 to the robbers. Officer Johnston, knowing that announcing his presence would only give the bandit’s time to react, emerged opening fire with the hope of wounding or incapacitating the bandits. The decision to open fire as he emerged led the bandits to drop the bag of money and flee the scene not before the bandit with the sawed-off shotgun fired striking Officer Johnston in the head. The three bandits fled in a waiting car with a fourth accomplice lying in wait behind the wheel. The bandits sped off and made good their escape. The blood stained vehicle was found one hour later in front of 4217 South Halsted Street. Further investigation revealed the car to be stolen with license plates stolen from another vehicle and no clues as to the identity of the bandits could be found.
Officer Johnston was detailed to the bakery because it had been robbed of $5,000 the previous summer.
Officer Johnston was waked at C. H. Williamson Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on March 27, 1933 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 25, Lot –, Block 6, Section 12.
Patrolman Roscoe Conklin Johnston, born May 29, 1892, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 23, 1919. He earned 4 Credible Mentions and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $180.00 during his career.
Officer Johnston served in the U.S. Armed Forces. He was survived his ex-wife, Mabel Belle (nee Lee) and daughter, Lorraine Lucille, age 16. Lorraine, a senior at Englewood High School, received $443.00 dollars from the Chicago Tribune’s Police Hero Fund after her father’s death.