Patrolman John Skopek

Patrolman John Skopek

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Saturday, July 22, 1933

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John Skopek

Patrolman John Skopek and Patrolman Elmer Ostling were shot and killed when they made a traffic stop of a speeding car on Washington Boulevard. Unbeknownst to both officers, the vehicle they had stopped had been stolen 3 weeks earlier and was being used in the commission of crimes.

Both officers approached the car on the passenger side and asked the the occupants to exit the vehicle. The men stepped out and immediately produced revolvers and opened fire. Both officers were shot several times and were only able to return fire one time each. Patrolman Skopek was killed instantly. Patrolman Ostling was taken Franklin Boulevard Hospital where he died a short time later.

The identity of the suspects remained a mystery until October 10, 1937, when a captured escapee from the Illinois Penitentiary confessed to the murders. He named two accomplices, one who escaped with him who was shot and killed during the capture. The other suspect was apprehended and also confessed to the murders. Both suspects were convicted of murder and sentenced to 199 years in prison.

Patrolman Skopek was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 34
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 6614

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 199 years

Most Recent Reflection

View all 7 Reflections

John Skopek is my great-grandfather. His son, Richard, married my grandmother and was my mother's stepfather. It was not until I was an adult that I learned the details of his death, as my grandfather kept the newspaper clippings about his father's tragic death. My grandfather never talked about it with me, but I know that growing up without his father was not easy. I don't know what else to say except that you are remembered, and as I often teach a class that covers Chicago history, I share this story with my students as well -- you are not forgotten.

Karen Bula Tapper

February 23, 2018

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