Patrolman Thomas Kelma

Patrolman Thomas Kelma

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Friday, May 31, 1935

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Thomas Kelma

Patrolman Thomas Kelma was shot and mortally wounded while attempting to arrest four armed robbers at 2033 S. Ashland Avenue.

He was off duty when he observed the four men enter a lounge. A struggle ensued as he attempted to intervene in the robbery. One of the men fatally shot Patrolman Kelma and then fled.

All four suspects were arrested and charged with Patrolman Kelma's murder. On July 26th, 1935, one of the suspects was sentenced to life in prison. He was denied parole in 1950. Another was sentenced to 199 years. He escaped from prison with six others in 1942. A guard was seriously wounded when he was shot and fell from the watchtower. All seven were captured in Chicago two months later. He was denied parole in 1960. Another was sentenced to 14 years. The subject who shot Patrolman Kelma hanged himself in his jail cell just before he was to be sentenced.

Patrolman Kelma had served with the Chicago Police Department for 10 years. He was survived by his wife and two daughters.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge 427

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Committed suicide in jail

off duty, robbery

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Patrolman Kelma, rest in peace.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

August 21, 2019

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