Special Agent Edwin C. Shanahan

Special Agent Edwin C. Shanahan

United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Government

End of Watch Sunday, October 11, 1925

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Edwin C. Shanahan

Special Agent Edwin Shanahan was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a car thief in Chicago, Illinois. The suspect was also wanted for the attempted murder of three Chicago police officers and a California police officer whom he had shot during previous arrest attempts.

Agent Shanahan and other officers received information that the suspect would was driving a stolen car from New Mexico to a garage at 6238 S Princeton Avenue. Officers and Agent Shanahan set up a stakeou at the garage. When the suspect showed up, all the officers had left to get other officers to relieve them. Agent Shanahan, who was alone at the time, attempted to arrest the suspect and was shot by the man with an automatic pistol.

On November 2nd, 1925, the suspect murdered Sergeant Harry Gray, of the Chicago Police Department, as Sergeant Gray attempted to arrest him.

On November 27, 1925, Patrolman James Carroll and James Henry of the Chicago Police Department set up a stakeout at a saloon on South Halstead Street. They were sitting in a booth watching a nearby house from a window. Information had been received that the suspect's girlfriend lived in the house and the suspect was on his way there. As they were watching three men entered the saloon and announced a holdup. In a gun battle that resulted, Patrolman Carroll, Patrolman Henry, and a cab driver were killed. A patron was shot and seriously wounded as the three fled. After officials obtained statements from witnesses, they were convinced that one of the robbers was the suspect. After the suspect was apprehended on January 20, 1926, in St, Louis, by FBI agents, police took two of the witnesses to the Cook County Jail to take a look at the suspect. They said he was definitely not one of the three they saw. The three were never apprehended.

The suspect was sentenced to 35 years in Illinois Penitentiary for the murders plus 15 years in Leavenworth for the auto theft. Killing an FBI agent was not a federal crime until 1934. The suspect, Martin Durkin, was one of Chicago's most feared criminals. He was known for shooting anyone who got in his way and was a suspect in other murders. The suspect was released from Leavenworth in 1954 and died in 1981.

Agent Shanahan was the first FBI agent to be killed in the line of duty. He had served with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for five years.


  • Age 27
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Illinois
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Deceased

stakeout, stolen vehicle, warrant service

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