Detective Sergeant William J. Russell

Detective Sergeant William J. Russell

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Saturday, June 12, 1909

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William J. Russell

Detective Sergeant William Russell was shot and killed, and another officer was wounded, by a man they followed into a saloon at the intersection of Fifth Avenue (modern day Wells Street) and Randolph Street who they believed was carrying concealed weapons.

The suspect produced two pistols and fired on the officers as they approached him. Sergeant Russell was killed instantly. The other officer returned fire critically wounding the subject as he ran out the door. Officers working to maintain order in a nearby union hall heard the shots, rushed to the scene, and found the unconscious suspect several yards from the saloon.

The suspect, who recovered from his wounds, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. He was granted a new trial and acquitted. In 1916 he was sent to Leavenworth for 40 months for robbing the Chicago federal building of $500,000 in stamps. In 1920, days after he got out, he was caught robbing a Chicago drug store.

Sergeant Russell was survived by his wife, father, two brothers, and one sister.


  • Age 34
  • Tour 15 years
  • Badge 85

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; Pistol
  • Offender Acquitted

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service Detective and please know that you will always be remembered by your LE brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo (Retired)
Delaware State Police

June 12, 2020

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