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Milwaukee Police Department bombing

Milwaukee Police Department bombing
Evening Capital News - Boise, Idaho - November 25, 1917.jpg
Boise's Evening Capital News headline reads Bomb tragedy kills 11 at Milwaukee
LocationCentral police station at Oneida and Broadway, Milwaukee
DateNovember 24, 1917
7:33PM (local time)
TargetEvangelical church
Attack type
Large black powder bomb
Deaths10 (9 officers, 1 civilian)

The Milwaukee Police Department bombing was a November 24, 1917, bomb attack that killed ten people including nine members of local law enforcement. The perpetrators were never caught but are suspected to be an anarchist terrorist cell operating in the United States in the early 20th century. The target was initially an evangelical church in the Third Ward and only killed the police members when the bomb was taken to the police station by a concerned member of the public. The bombing remained the most fatal single event in national law enforcement history for over 80 years until the 9-11 attacks.

The bomb

On November 24, 1917, a large black powder bomb, wrapped as a package, was discovered by Maude L. Richter, a social worker, next to an evangelical church in the Third Ward. She dragged the package into the church basement and notified the church janitor, Sam Mazzone. Mazzone took the bomb to the central police station at Oneida and Broadway and turned it over to the Milwaukee Police Department. The station keeper was showing it to the shift commander, Lieutenant Flood, right before a scheduled inspection, when it exploded. Nine members of the department were killed in the blast, along with a female civilian.

Officers killed

Nine members of the Milwaukee Police Department were killed as well as Catherine Walker, who was in the police station making a complaint against her boyfriend.

Name Appointed Years on the force
Henry Deckert October 21, 1913 4
Frank Caswin February 1, 1915 2
Fred Kaiser February 7, 1905 12
David O'Brien November 4, 1897 20
Stephen Stecker December 1, 1899 17
Charles Seehawer December 1, 1899 17
Edward Spindler July 1, 1903 14
Al Templin October 17, 1904 13
Paul Weiler December 13, 1906 10


It was suspected at the time that the bomb had been placed outside the church by anarchists, particularly the Galleanist faction led by adherents of Luigi Galleani. At the time, the bomber's identity was not uncovered. Many years later, interviews with surviving Galleanist members revealed that Croatian national Mario Buda, chief bombmaker for the Galleanists may have constructed the Milwaukee bomb. At the time, the bombing was the most fatal single event in national law enforcement history, only surpassed later by the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 when 72 law enforcement officers representing eight different agencies were killed. Those responsible for the 1917 bombing never were apprehended, but days later, eleven alleged Italian anarchists went to trial on unrelated charges involving a fracas that had occurred two months before. The specter of the larger, uncharged crime of the bombing haunted the proceedings and assured convictions of all eleven. In 1918 Clarence Darrow led an appeal that gained freedom for most of the convicted.

See also




  • Avrich, Paul (1996). Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691026046. - Total pages: 265
  • Avrich, Paul (1996b). Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691044941. - Total pages: 323
  • Balousek, Marv & Editor J. Allen Kirsch (1997). 50 Wisconsin Crimes of the Century. Badger Books Inc. ISBN 9781878569479. - Total pages: 365
  • Dell’Arti, Giorgio (January 26, 2002). "La Storia di Mario Buda" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 27, 2007. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  • The Indianapolis Star (November 26, 1917). "Bomb Mystery Baffles Police". The Indianapolis Star. John Shaffer. OCLC 760301417.
  • Miller, Ryan W. (July 17, 2016). "Deadliest attacks on police in the last 100 years". USA Today. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  • Government of Milwaukee (2017). "Milwaukee Police Department Officer Memorial Page". Government of Milwaukee. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007.
  • Strang, Dean A. (2013). Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299293932. - Total pages: 268
  • Watson, Bruce (2007). Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind. Penguin Books. ISBN 9781101202623. - Total pages: 448

Coordinates: 43°02′27.0″N 87°54′30.5″W / 43.040833°N 87.908472°W / 43.040833; -87.908472

This page was last updated at 2021-11-02 00:54 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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