Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 24 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 2nd Precinct - Madison Street Station
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Aggravated Battery - Stabbed
Age at Time of Death: 30
Date of Birth: 20 Jan 1905
Date of Appointment: 05 Jun 1877
Date of Incident: 15 Jun 1877
End of Watch: 29 Jun 1877
Date of Interment:
Cemetery: Unknown Cemetery
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case:
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 10
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall:
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall:
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Probationary Patrolman Spencer Wellington McArthur, Star # Unknown, aged 30 years, was a 24 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 2nd Precinct – Madison Street Station.
On June 15, 1877, at 12:10 a.m., Officer McArthur and his partner, Patrolman Henry F. Smith were working in plainclothes. While standing on the corner of Lake and Canal Streets they observed two men coming from Randolph Street arguing and calling each other names. One of the men, James McMullen, said to the other man, Frank Sheppard, “come, Frank, I will take you home.“ They went over the crossing and coming to the corner of the lumberyard began arguing again. The men passed the officers and continued walking. The officers followed the men at a reasonable distance and observed them enter Rietz’s Lumber Yard located on Canal Street near the Lake Street Bridge. They disappeared into the lumberyard and McMullen was soon heard yelling, “Oh my God, you have stabbed me.” Just as the officers came up to the entrance of the lumberyard Sheppard replied, “I will give it to you again, yes, fuck you.“ The officers then ran into the yard and Officer Smith seized McMullen and Officer McArthur seized Sheppard. Sheppard, without saying a word, stabbed Officer McArthur in the abdomen. Officer McArthur was then heard shouting, “Oh, I’m cut; run an get a doctor for me.” Sheppard then fled on foot over the Lake Street Bridge and made good his escape.
Officer Smith then took Officer McArthur and McMullen to the West Madison Street Station. The city physician, Doctor Dunne, was summoned along with other doctors and examined the two men. Officer McArthur sustained a laceration nearly four inches long, and the doctors had hopes of his recovery unless an inflammation set in. McMullen sustained a laceration to the right side of his abdomen, which exposed his ribs. Officer McArthur remained at the station for several days before being taken to his home. He succumbed to his injuries thirteen days later at 10:00 a.m. on June 29, 1873.
Once at the station, McMullen was questioned and gave up his attacker’s name as Frank Sheppard. He stated that they were both sailors and that the fight between them stemmed from drinking. Patrolmen Saville and Tom Traynor, set out in search of Sheppard and within three hours were able to located him.
Frank Sheppard was arrested at the Williams House located on Kinzie Street. This is the house both McMullen and Sheppard had been boarding in. During questioning, Sheppard made the remark “That’s a bad business for me.“ The officers asked, “what business?“ Sheppard responded “Oh, this cutting business.“ When pressed for a reason why he stabbed the officer, he coolly responded that the stabbing was the whiskey’s fault. He also stated that he thought they were trying to rob him and he did it in self-defense. On June 16, 1877, Sheppard was brought before Judge Morrison who ordered him held without bail until June 22, 1877. In December 1877, Frank Sheppard stood trial for the murder. A jury found him guilty of manslaughter and he was sentenced to 25 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet.
Officer McArthur was waked at his residence located at No. 126 Peoria Street (present day 414 North Peoria Street), his final resting place is unknown.
Probationary Patrolman Spencer Wellington McArthur, born in 1847, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 5, 1877. He had previously served as a police officer in White Hall, New York.
Officer McArthur was survived by his wife, child and unborn child.
Chicago Police Department homicide file not found for this incident.