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Patrolman Mathias J. Degan | Chicago Police Department, Illinois Chicago Police Department, Illinois

Patrolman

Mathias J. Degan

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch: Tuesday, May 4, 1886

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 34

Tour: 1 year, 6 months

Badge # 648

Cause: Bomb

Weapon: Explosives; Bomb

Offender: Four executed

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Officer Mathias J. Degan was with other officers assigned to disperse crowds near Haymarket Square. A bomb was thrown and exploded amidst officers. Officer Degan was struck by shrapnel. Officer Degan was the first of eight officers to die in what is known as the historic Haymarket Tragedy.

Officer Degan served with the agency for 1.5 years and was assigned to the 3rd Precinct. Officer Degan was a widower who was survived by his son; he is buried in Saint Boniface Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois.

Eight men were arrested and charged with the officers murders. Seven were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The other one was sentenced to 15 years. On November 11, 1887, four of them were executed by hanging. The day before one of the suspects killed himself in his cell with a smuggled dynamite cap which he detonated in his mouth. The other three were pardoned by Governor Altgeld in 1893.

Eight police officers were killed during the Haymarket Riot labor dispute. The officers were at the scene of a civil disorder when the rioters opened fire and threw a bomb into the crowd. Eight police officers suffered fatal wounds and 70 other people were injured by the gunfire and explosion.

The officers who were killed included Patrolman Mathias Degan, Patrolman John Barrett, Patrolman George Miller, Patrolman Timothy Flavin, Patrolman Thomas Redden, Patrolman Nels Hansen and Patrolman Michael Sheehan. Patrolman Timothy Sullivan succumbed to his wounds two years later, on June 13, 1888.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Patrolman George Miller
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Thursday, May 6, 1886
Cause: Bomb

Patrolman John J. Barrett
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Thursday, May 6, 1886
Cause: Bomb

Patrolman Timothy Flavin
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Saturday, May 8, 1886
Cause: Gunfire

Patrolman Michael Sheehan
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Sunday, May 9, 1886
Cause: Gunfire

Patrolman Thomas Redden
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Monday, May 17, 1886
Cause: Gunfire

Patrolman Nels Hansen
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Monday, June 14, 1886
Cause: Bomb

Patrolman Timothy Sullivan
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Wednesday, June 13, 1888
Cause: Gunfire

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Most Recent Reflection

Rest in Peace, Patrolman Degan. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169
April 30, 2012

 

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