Patrolman John W. Quirk

Patrolman John W. Quirk

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Monday, January 13, 1958

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John W. Quirk

Patrolman John W. Quirk was shot three times by two gunmen at the intersection of N. Cleveland Avenue and W. Wisconsin Streets.

Patrolman Quirk was off duty on his first date with a young woman. One of their first stops that evening included a tour of the Shakespeare Avenue Station, 2131 N. California, where he was assigned. Their second stop was a restaurant at 3801 W. Fullerton, where they had a chance meeting with his partner, and they visited for some time.

He was driving an acquaintance home and pulled in front of 22 East Banks Street at approximately 2:30 am. The moment the vehicle came to a stop, two men jumped into the back of the car from each side with guns drawn. Patrolman Quirk was forced to drive in the area of the north side. While approaching the intersection of W. Wisconsin Avenue and N. Cleveland Avenue, he intentionally crashed his vehicle into a street lamp. While drawing his service revolver, he fired into the rear of the vehicle, hitting one suspect in the hand. Patrolman Quirk used his body to shield his companion from the bullets as the shooting started. He was mortally wounded in the exchange. The young woman was able to identify the assailants.

After a city-wide manhunt, one gunman was immediately arrested. The second surrendered to the FBI and was turned over to the Chicago Police Department homicide division.

Both suspects, each 23, were convicted of murder and sentenced to life. Both received additional life terms for several armed robberies they committed together. During each robbery, they severely pistol-whipped their victims. During a liquor store robbery, a third robber held a gun to the owner's head, and he was forced to watch as two men bit his tiny wife and pistol-whipped her almost to death. She had to have psychiatric care for the remainder of her life.

On May 1, 1969, one was paroled under a protective coat of secrecy. Those who met with unknown parole board officials were his father, president of the Vendors Employee Union, a man with considerable influence. Others who were there or contacted the parole officials were a U.S. Congressman, two Illinois State Legislature representatives, and the president of another labor union. The chairman of the parole board, prison officials, the Chicago Police, and Patrolman Quirk's family learned of the parole a week later. Six months later, the Illinois Legislature passed into law a list of safeguards that they said would keep "what happened" from ever happening again. The paroled killer would go on to succeed his father as president of the Vendors Employee Union when he died in 1973. In 1986 he was the subject of a major FBI investigation when a Chicago Mafia Organization threatened to kill him if they were not allowed to take over his union. The other suspect was not considered for parole but was released at some point before his death in 1986.

Patrolman Quirk was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and served with the Chicago Police Department for over one year.


  • Age 23
  • Tour 1 year, 4 months
  • Badge 9866
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender One paroled in 1969

off duty, robbery

Most Recent Reflection

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Patrolman Quirk,
I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just for your Community but for our Country as well when you served with the USMC. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol(Retired)

February 13, 2024

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