1921 - 1950 Fallen Heroes
Police Officer Elmer W. Bates was struck by an automobile on August 20th, 1948, and thrown 10 feet into the air as he crossed N. Lincoln Memorial Drive opposite the North Point pumping station, in answer to another motorist’s call for assistance. The car then rolled over him. Bates suffered a head injury, leg and jaw fractures and severe cuts. He died three days later on August 23rd, 1948.
Officer Bates was 42-years-old and married.
Just after 2:00 a.m. on March 6, 1948, Police Officer Valentine Adam Jr. was struck by an automobile and killed as he directed traffic at the intersection of N. Downer and E. Newport Avenues.
Officer Adam was guiding a motorist around a snow clearing operation when a driver failed to turn striking Officer Adam. He was thrown or carried by the automobile 107 feet and suffered compound fractures of the skull and left leg. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Officer Adam was 26-years-old and was appointed to the Milwaukee Police Department only two months earlier on January 2nd, 1948. Before joining MPD, he worked as a machine operator and had served three years in the Navy until June 1945. He was married and had a 2-year-old son.
Officer Arnold Werner died July 10th, 1943, his 30th birthday, of injuries suffered four days earlier when a vehicle turned left in front of his motorcycle at N. 37th Street and W. Wisconsin Avenue, while he was in pursuit of another vehicle.
Werner joined the police force June 1, 1942, and became a motorcycle officer two months later.
In addition to his wife, he was survived by a 14-day old son, two daughters ages 5 and 9, his parents, three brothers and five sisters.
Detective Joseph Lecher died on March 21, 1943, one month after being shot when he cornered a burglar in a bedroom in the 5400 block of W. Wells Street.
Police received an anonymous call about a suspicious individual in a home where the owners were believed to be away. Four detectives responded to the house as they had been in search of a burglar believed to be responsible for dozens of crimes.
Two detectives remained outside while Detective Lecher and another Detective went into the home. Hearing a door slam, the detectives flung it open. Shots rang out from under a bed. Detective Lecher was struck and collapsed. The other detective took a dive to the floor and returned fired striking the suspect under the bed.
The capture solved almost daily reports of burglaries on the West side.
Detective Lecher was 36-years-old and had been a member of the Milwaukee Police Department since May 23, 1933. He became a detective in April 1941.
He was married and had four children: Joseph Jr., 12; Beverly, 9; Frederick, 7, and Louis who was born 10 days before the shooting.
On February 13, 1943, Lieutenant Albert Grosskopf responded in the police ambulance to a second alarm fire at the Beaumont Apartments, 1227 N Milwaukee Street. It was procedure to send a police ambulance to all two alarm fires as a precautionary measure. Lieutenant Grosskopf was promoted to his rank on February 1, 1943 and assigned to the first district police headquarters. While at the fire scene, Lieutenant Grosskopf was observed falling to the ground and it was believed that he had tripped over a fire hose. He was unconscious and he was placed in the police ambulance for transport to the county hospital. He was pronounced dead at the county emergency hospital and learned that he suffered from a fatal heart attack.
Lieutenant Grosskopf was 51-years-old and had served with the Milwaukee Police Department for over 26 years.
He was survived by his wife, Ida, and one daughter, Jane.
On November 2, 1937 Detective George Raabe was shot and killed and two policemen were wounded as a gun battle raged over two floors at the main plant of the Luick Dairy at 1132 N. 6th Street. One suspect was killed. A second man was captured and a third was identified as the gunman who killed Raabe.
It is believed the suspect waited in the shadows of the darkened first floor and when Detective Raabe reached the lower landing he opened fire, killing him.
Police were seeking the gunman and two accomplices who had forced the combination of the safe from the company cashier at his home. All five men were believed to be part of a Chicago gang who had planned the robbery for two months.
About noon a tip came into police who rushed to an apartment on 9th Street and found the bloodied gunman in bed and the other two accomplices. They were arrested without incident. The wounded gunman was taken to the hospital where he admitted to killing Detective Raabe.
Detective Raabe, 36, was the 24th member of the Milwaukee Police Department to be killed in the line of duty. He was born October 10, 1901 and joined the force May 27, 1929. Detective Raabe left behind a widow and six children: Richard, 14; Charles, 13; Tommy, 9; William, 7; George Jr., 5, and Grace, 4.
Motorcycle Officer Nels Goodman died in the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 10, 1937, at Johnston Emergency Hospital of injuries suffered in an accident the previous Friday.
Officer Goodman was riding his motorcycle east on W. Greenfield Avenue when the wheels of the machine struck a rut in the street near S. 9th Street. Officer Goodman was flung to the pavement fracturing his skull.
Officer Goodman was 44-years-old. He was appointed to the Milwaukee Police Department on May 24, 1925. Officer Goodman was married with two children.
Acting-Detective Charles George was shot and killed on June 8, 1936 while attempting to apprehend a burglary suspect in the 1700 block of N. 4th Street. The suspect was seen by a police officer earlier in the night jumping out of a window with a cash box at a filling station in the 2900 block of W. Fond du Lac Avenue. The officer gave chase but was outdistanced. Upon returning to the filling station to investigate, the officer noticed a car parked nearby and called headquarters to report the license plate.
Detective George and his partner were assigned the case. They looked up the owner of the car and went to the St. Paul Ave. address listed to investigate. The suspect was not home so they hid under the porch and waited. About an hour later the suspect came home. They attempted to arrest him but he was again able to sprint away. Detective George’s partner recognized the man as someone he had seen coming out of a home on 4th Street.
It was after 3 a.m. and half an hour after quitting time, but George was not ready to give up. They went to the 4th Street address. The women in the home denied that anyone else was in the house. When the officers walked through, they found another man asleep in a bedroom. His presence aroused their suspicion and they renewed their questioning of the women. Finally, one woman admitted the man was hiding in the house.
As Detective George opened the front room closet door, a shot rang out and the bullet penetrated his heart. Detective George fell backwards into his partners arms as another shot rang out. The suspect’s body tumbled out of the closet. Both men died at the scene.
Detective George was 38 years old and had been with the department for six years. Before coming to Milwaukee he was Chief of Police in Rice Lake. He left behind a wife, Agnes and son Donald, 14.
Sergeant Harry Pieske was injured on June 15, 1935, when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver near N. 34th Street and W. Capitol Drive, while leading a convoy of United States Army trucks out of the city. He was taken by ambulance to emergency hospital where he died 12 days later on June 27 from massive internal injuries.
The driver who struck him was found and arrested.
Sergeant Pieske was 41-years-old and had served with the Milwaukee Police Department for 14 years. He was the first police sergeant to die while on duty in the City of Milwaukee.
He was survived by his wife, Minnie and three sons: Glenwood, Donald and Harlow.
Patrolman Richard Zingler died February 8, 1933, 26 hours after being shot. Patrolman Zingler was shot by one of three men as they held up the superintendent of an apartment building near N. 38th Street and W. Vilet Street. The men believed the superintendent would be carrying collected rent money.
Milwaukee was in the midst of a cold snap after a record snowfall. Patrolman Zingler, who knew the superintendent was likely stoking the coal furnace, stopped for a chat and to warm himself as he often did.
The three suspects had bound and gagged the superintendent just as Patrolman Zingler made his entrance. Seconds later a shot rang out striking Patrolman Zingler in the chest. He pulled his revolver out and fired as a man ran past him up the stairs and out the door.
Patrolman Zingler made his way outside and was still standing with the revolver dangling from his hand when those who heard the shots came to see what the commotion was. Patrolman Zingler handed his call box key to a man and told him to ring headquarters.
At the hospital, surgeons operated on Patrolman Zingler in an attempt to find and remove the .38 caliber bullet that pierced him just below the heart, but there was little hope from the outset for his recovery. He was conscious until the hour of his death, just after 1 a.m., Wednesday. His wife and sister were at his bedside.
Three days later, after being grilled by police for 48 hours, three young men aged 20, 21 and 22 confessed to the crime. The 21-year-old admitted to firing the shot ten seconds after Patrolman Zingler started down the stairs. He said the target was made easy in the darkness of the basement by the flashlight Patrolman Zingler was carrying.
Patrolman Zingler was 42-years-old and had served with the Milwaukee Police Department for nearly ten years. He was survived by his wife and six-year-old son.
Patrolman Robert Bahlke died on February 23, 1932, as a result of injuries sustained after being stuck by a car a month earlier.
On January 14, Patrolman Bahlke was directing traffic on the 16th Street viaduct at the Plankinton Street approach. It was a very cold and rainy winter night. The driver of the striking vehicle stated he did not see Patrolman Bahlke due to his vision being obscured by the rain.
Patrolman Bahlke was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital and was diagnosed with a fractured left hip. On February 23, Patrolman Bahlke died from complications developed from the original injury.
Patrolman Bahlke was 45-years-old and had served with the Milwaukee Police for ten years. He was married with two daughters.
Patrolman Hilbert Thurow was struck down as he directed traffic at N. 27th Street and W. Townsend Street on August 22nd, 1930. A truck is said to have made a sudden left turn at the intersection, striking an automobile.
The lighter car was flung towards Patrolman Thurow and a pedestrian throwing them to the ground. Patrolman Thurow was knocked unconscious as he struck the pavement. He died hours later at County Emergency Hospital of a fractured skull.
Officer Thurow was 37-years-old and married with two children. He had been a member of the Milwaukee Police Department since 1926.
Detective Harold W. Schmidt was killed in the line of duty on April 4, 1925. Detective Schmidt had two Chicago men under surveillance that were believed to be responsible for stealing cars. While he was questioning the men, he was shot to death in street. It is believed the men escaped to Chicago.
Detective Schmidt was 34-years-old.
Patrolman Joseph Kubacki died on May 24, 1924, one month after being shot in the line of duty. Patrolman Kubacki was shot in the left thigh about 1 a.m. on April 23rd, 1924, by automobile bandits he was pursuing down an alley between W. Mineral and W. Washington Streets and 12th and 13th Streets.
Patrolman Kubacki encounter the men in a stolen car and called upon them to halt. Instead they started the car down the alley. Patrolman Kubacki fired shots into the air. One of the occupants fired back at Patrolman Kubacki with a bullet striking him in his left thigh.
The bullet entered the thigh and took a downward course. It passed through the knee cap, severing an artery. This was the immediate cause of death. Patrolman Kubacki died the evening of May 24th, 1924.
Patrolman Kubacki was appointed to the Milwaukee Police Department April 1, 1919, serving five years. He was 30-years-old and married.
On the night of December 18, 1924, a man caused a moonshine-fueled disturbance at his brother’s house at the sight of the latest fashion trend: bobbed hair.
As he continued to berate the mother of the two girls, ages 9 and 11, the man fled the house and found a policeman on a nearby corner. Together they returned to the home on N. 5th Street between W. Clarke and W. Wright Streets.
Almost immediately, Officer Luedtke began to struggle with the uncle and the fight got pushed out the back door. They had gone down two steps when the man put a revolver against Officer Luedtke’s abdomen and pulled the trigger twice. Officer Luedtke fell and the killer leaned over and fired one more shot into the motionless policeman in view of the mother and girls. A neighbor, hearing the commotion, rushed over and began fighting with the uncle and managed to disarm him. The uncle fled and was captured the following day.
Upon being arrested, he pleaded he had been drunk and did not know he had shot Officer Luedtke. A jury, however, needed only five minutes to find him guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Officer Luedtke had served with the Milwaukee Police Department for three years. He was survived by his wife and four-year-old daughter.
Motorcycle Patrolman William Kaemmerling died on January 28, 1922, of his injuries after being involved in a crash on his motorcycle two days earlier. Patrolman Kaemmerling suffered a fractured skull and broken neck when his motorcycle collided with one being driven by a postal messenger.
The accident occurred on Grand Avenue, now known as Wisconsin Avenue, between N. 13th and N. 14th Streets around 11:30. Kaemmerling was driving west and the postal messenger was driving east, when one of them pulled out to pass a car.
Patrolman Kaemmerling was thrown to the street and lost consciousness. The other driver was not injured.
Patrolman Kaemmerling was 27-years-old and had been with the Milwaukee Police Department for five years. He died on the three-year anniversary of being on the motorcycle. Patrolman Kaemmerling was married with two children.