Patrolman Charles H. Skelly

Patrolman Charles H. Skelly

St. Joseph Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Saturday, December 14, 1929

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Charles H. Skelly

Patrolman Charles Skelly was shot and killed by a hitman of one of America's notorious criminals, Al Capone.

The subject had been in a minor traffic collision with a citizen and insisted on paying the citizen for repairs directly instead of involving the police. As the two drove to a repair shop to get an estimate, the citizen saw Patrolman Skelly and flagged him down. The subject became nervous and attempted to drive away, but Patrolman Skelly jumped on the running board of the vehicle. The man then opened fire, striking Patrolman Skelly in the chest and knocking him to the ground.

The shooter was also suspected in the murder of Patrolman George Zientara of the Toledo, Ohio, Police Department on April 16th, 1928. The man was convicted of Patrolman Skelly's murder and died in prison in 1940.

A criminal associate of the man vanished in 1931 and is believed to have been killed by gangsters. This associate was involved in the murder of Marshal Peter Dumele of North College Hill, Ohio, on April 9th, 1928.

Two of Al Capone's hitmen were also responsible for the murders of Patrolman Harold Olson and Patrolman Charles Walsh of the Chicago, Illinois, Police Department on June 13th, 1925.

Patrolman Skelly had served with the St. Joseph Police Department for only seven months and was formerly assistant chief of the St Joseph Fire Department. Upon joining the St. Joseph Police Department, Patrolman Skelly had changed his last name from its original variation of Skalay.

He is buried in Crystal Spring Cemetery at Fair Plain, Berrien County, Michigan.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 7 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Died in prison

accident investigation

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Rest in peace.


December 14, 2022

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