Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 17 years, 6 months, 19 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Detective Bureau
District of Incident (Present Day): 020 - Lincoln
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 43
Date of Birth: 19 Jan 1890
Date of Appointment: 25 May 1916
Date of Incident: 14 Dec 1933
End of Watch: 14 Dec 1933
Date of Interment: 18 Dec 1933
Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # C-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 6
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 36
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 20-W: 14
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army - American Expeditionary Forces
Incident & Biographic Details
Sergeant William Thomas Shanley, Star #760, aged 43 years, was a 17 year, 6 month, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Detective Bureau.
On December 14, 1933, Sergeant Shanley was working with Patrolmen Frank Hopkins and Martin Mullin when they monitored a radio call from Chief of Detectives William Shoemaker. Chief Shoemaker had ordered the men to be on the lookout for a green roadster on the 5300 block of North Broadway Avenue. The officers located the car at a garage repair shop located at 5320 North Broadway Avenue run by Frank Kuhn and Arthur Ulnes. The two men stated that the car was dropped off for repair to its fender and that the man and women who brought it in would be back shortly. Sergeant Shanley relayed this information to Chief Shoemaker and offered to set up surveillance to await the man and woman’s return. The Chief approved of the surveillance and warned the sergeant to be careful because the man he was waiting for was part of John Dillinger’s gang and was considered desperate and extremely dangerous. Sergeant Shanley wrote down Dillinger’s name on a piece of paper and then informed the patrolman of their new assignment.
At approximately 3:45 p.m., Sergeant Shanely ordered Officer Hopkins to notify Officer Mullin that the squad car had to be returned to the Detective Bureaus before the next shift came in at 4:00 p.m. Mullin had been keeping watch from inside the vehicle which was parked at Catapla and Broadway Avenues. Officer Hopkins left to relay the order. Shortly after he left, a man, suspected to be John Hamilton, and a woman, suspected to be Elaine De Kant Dent, entered the garage. What happened next was recounted by Same Tower, a mechanic who worked for the garage. Tower stated that Hamilton and Dent walked up to the car when Sergeant Shanely approached them. Shanely asked if the car belonged to Hamilton. Hamilton replied no, it belongs to my wife Elaine who then handed Shanely a license receipt. Sergeant Shanley then began to search Hamilton for a gun while instructing him to keep his hands in plain sight. As the sergeant bent over to pat down Hamilton’s Pockets, Hamilton drew a revolver from his shoulder holster and fired twice at Shanley.
Sergeant Shanley then yelled saying he was wounded, telling the onlookers to call for help as he fell to the floor with the license receipt still in his hand. At this time, Hamilton grabbed Dent by the arm and dragged her out of the garage. The rest of the incident was recounted by Officer Hopkins, who stated that while about 200 feet from the garage he observed Hamilton and Dent leaving the garage. The officer then attempted to approach Hamilton, who took off on foot through a vacant lot. Dent then ran towards Officer Hopkins who quickly placed her in custody as she cursed and struggled as he dragged her back into the garage. As Officer Hopkins entered the garage he immediately saw Sergeant Shanley lying in a pool of blood and ran to his aide. Unable to do anything for him, Sergeant Shanley was transported to Edgewater Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries 15 minutes later.
Led by John Dillinger, the Dillinger Gang was a notorious group of Midwest bank robbers. Associates of the gang were responsible for the fatal shootings of 13 law enforcement officers in 1933 and 1934. The suspect, John Hamilton, was a leader of the gang who had broken out of the Indiana Penitentiary on September 26, 1933. On April 30, 1934, Hamilton was shot at the Battle of Little Bohemia in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin and died a short time later. The rest of the Dillinger Gang would either be killed, executed or serve lengthy sentences in prison.
Sergeant Shanley was waked in McGinnis Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on December 18, 1933 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois.
Sergeant William Thomas Shanley, born January 19, 1890, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 25, 1916. He earned 1 Credible Mention and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $240.00 and the Chicago Tribune Hero Award during his career. On May 6, 1922, Shanley was promoted to Sergeant.
Sergeant Shanley served in the U.S. Army – American Expeditionary Forces from October 7, 1917 thru (discharge date unknown) in Deputy Services Company, 95th Aero Squadron Command, was a veteran of World War I and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Sergeant. He was survived by his wife, Margaret Mary (nee Kelly), age 39, children: James J., age 6, Mary, age 12, Patricia Sarah, age 8 and William Lawrence, age 11.