On December 1, 1925, Chicago Police Officer James Henry died after being involved in a shooting with one of America’s most deadly criminals. He was in a saloon across the street from the residence of Martin Durkin’s girlfriend. Durkin was wanted for the murder of FBI Agent Edwin Shanahan on October 11, 1925. Shanahan had been attempting to arrest Durkin for a string of car thefts when Durkin shot him in the chest. The murder of Shanahan was the first line of duty death for the FBI. Since the murder of Shanahan, Durkin had gone on to kill Chicago Police Sergeant Harry Gray and shoot and injure three other Chicago cops who had attempted to apprehend him.
As PO Henry was on the stakeout with his partner Patrolman James Carroll. As they were waiting in the saloon, Martin Durkin and two other men came in to commit a robbery. A shootout ensued and Patrolman Carroll was shot in the head and killed instantly. Patrolman Henry was shot in the stomach and died four days later. Durkin and his crew also killed a cab driver while making their escape.
Durkin went on the run and the FBI expanded their manhunt nationwide. He was tracked to California but had already moved on. The FBI trailing him through Arizona, New Mexico, and into Texas. He eluded them in Texas as well but agents discovered that he was on a train to Saint Louis. It was on the train just outside of Saint Louis that they finally caught up with him. Agents and cops boarded the train and arrested Durkin without incident.
Durkin was never convicted of the murders of Carroll and Henry. Witnesses failed to identify him and a case could not proven. He was sentenced on his many other crimes in Illinois including the murder of law enforcement officers.
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