Patrolman James O'Brien

Patrolman James O'Brien

East St. Louis Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Tuesday, April 1, 1919

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James O'Brien

Patrolman James O'Brien was shot and killed while attempting to question a man at a bar at 353 Collinsville Avenue.

Patrolman O'Brien observed the man inside the bar and asked him to meet out front for further questioning. When the man failed to follow him outside Patrolman O'Brien re-entered the bar and was told the man had fled out of the rear door. As Patrolman O'Brien exited the bar's rear door, he was shot in the head and killed. His reason for wanting to talk to the man is unknown.

In 1927 the 28-year-old suspect was arrested in Chicago for the murder of a man in New York a few days earlier. When he was returned to New York he admitted to the murder of Patrolman O'Brien. New York officials told Illinois officials if he was acquitted of the murder in their state they would return him to Illinois.

Patrolman O'Brien had served with the East St. Louis Police Department for seven years. He was survived by his expectant wife and two children. His third child was born one week after his murder.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Arrested

suspicious person

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Rest in peace Patrolman O'Brien.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

August 15, 2021

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