Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 11 years, 3 months, 9 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 4th District - Stanton
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 38
Date of Birth: 24 Jun 1893
Date of Appointment: 10 Mar 1921
Date of Incident: 18 Jun 1932
End of Watch: 19 Jun 1932
Date of Interment: 23 Jun 1932
Cemetery: Mount Carmel Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot 1/2 8, Block 6, Section 17
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-3
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 12
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 33
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 21-E: 7
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman William George Gagler, Star #1634, aged 38 years, was an 11 year, 3 month, 9 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 4th District – Stanton.
On June 18, 1932, Officer Gagler was on patrol with Sergeant Grover J. Gormley and Patrolman Frank Bergan. The officers were passing 3117 South State Street when they spotted the wife of Sandy Spears, age 42, sitting on a truck in front of her residence. The sergeant ordered Officer Bergen to stop the squad car to determine if Mr. Spears was at home. Spears was wanted on a warrant for larceny after he had consumed gas without going through the gas meter. Sergeant Gormley had attempted to serve the warrant on two occasions but was unsuccessful. Mrs. Spears told the officers that her husband was inside the apartment. The officers entered the apartment building and located Spears downstairs from his apartment and read the warrant to him. Spears, not resisting, then asked if he could retrieve his hat and coat from the apartment upstairs before he was arrested. The request was granted and Patrolman Gagler accompanied him to his apartment with gun drawn. Spears suddenly sprinted ahead, running to a chair and retrieved a revolver which was concealed underneath it. Spears turned and fired on Officer Gagler six times. According to a Chicago Daily Tribune article, Spears shouted “Nobody’s going to take me” as he fired at the officer. Officer Gagler was struck in the abdomen, both legs, and twice in the arm with one round missing him. Although seriously wounded, he was able to return fire and struck Spears in the abdomen four times. Hearing the gunfire, Sergeant Gormley and Officer Bergan raced up the stairs and by the time they reached Gagler Spears had fled the scene.
Officer Gagler was rushed to Mercy Hospital. Five fellow officers who had come to the hospital volunteered to give blood for the transfusions Gagler was in desperate need of. Their efforts were in vain as Officer Gagler succumbed to his injuries at 7:55 a.m. the following day on June 19, 1932. Spears, who was also shot, sought help at Cook County Hospital where he was located shortly after Gagler’s death. He was arrested and transferred to the Bridewell Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries at 9:00 p.m. on June 26, 1932.
Officer Gagler was waked at Hursen Funeral Home located at 2346 West Madison Street. He was laid to rest on June 23, 1932 in Mount Carmel Cemetery, 1400 South Wolf Road, Hillside, Illinois. His grave was located in Grave 2, Lot 1/2 8, Block 6, Section 17. On July 8, 1932, his grave was relocated to Grave 3, Lot 1/2 8, Block 6, Section 17.
Patrolman William George Gagler, born June 24, 1893, received a Temporary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on August 5, 1919 prior to his Probationary Appointment to the Department on March 10, 1921. He earned 1 Credible Mention during his career.
Officer Gagler was survived by his wife, Lillian Vivian (nee Leracz), age 38 and children: Elizabeth Jean, age 7, John, age 12, Virginia Edna, age 14 and Wilburt, age 16.