Death Assumes an Alias

Monday, June 19, 1871

Twenty-year-old Louis Kossuth Fergus dies of his wounds at about 5 a.m. in the Webster Avenue police station.  The previous afternoon a professional thief supposedly named Wilson attempted to pick the pocket of a woman in Lincoln Park.  Apprehended by Office John Mahr, Wilson appeared to submit quietly, but while being taken to the station he broke free, drew a revolver, and fired at Mahr, wounding him.  Bystander Charles Hoffman tried to assist Mahr by grabbing Wilson, who wounded him as well.  Mahr then took out his own weapon and fired back at Wilson, who shouted in anguish, “Damn your soul, you’ve fixed me,” and fell to the ground, where Hoffman held him down.  That evening a detective from the Madison Street station identifies Wilson as being in fact Louis Kossuth Fergus.  The coroner’s jury exonerates Mahr, commending him “for his forbearance on the occasion, and for the efficient manner in which he performed his duty as a police officer.”  It also thanks Hoffman for his bravery and, noting that he is a poor man, recommends that the Common Council provide some sorely needed funds for Hoffman and his family while he is mending.