By: Keith Dameron, Historian – Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial

Detective Sergeant John Dunleavy, 41, was shot and mortally wounded in the 1500 block of Pine just before 11:00 pm on July 21, 1909. He died from his wounds at 2:30 am, July 25. Dunleavy had finished his shift and while walking home, picked up his daughter from a friend’s house when they were approached by two men. One made an insulting comment to Dunleavy’s daughter and Dunleavy stepped forward putting her behind him. Dunleavy was then shot, fell to the ground and fired five times at the fleeing men, with no apparent effect. Dunleavy was rushed to Minnequa Hospital. Night Captain Charles Yund went to the hospital to get descriptions of the men and ordered all the detectives to Bessemer for a police dragnet.

Pueblo Police Chief Sullivan was notified and passed on the descriptions to other departments in the state and to the railroads. Dunleavy’s partner that night was Detective Columbo Delliquadri. Just an hour or so earlier Delliquadri had stepped on a stone and sprained his ankle. Dunleavy assisted him to the streetcar line eight blocks away and then finished his shift alone. Investigators believed that the men that shot Dunleavy were planning to ambush both detectives and that Delliquadri’s sprained ankle had kept him away from the attack. Detective Sergeant Dunleavy had earned a reputation for suppressing gambling and enforcing liquor laws in Bessemer. He was also responsible for the pawn shops in the area and recovered many stolen items. Chief Sullivan stated that Dunleavy had received “many ‘Black Hand’ letters threatening his life if he didn’t let up on arresting people out his way”.

It was determined at the hospital that Dunleavy had been shot three times, in the leg, hip and just below the heart. Surgery was performed but the injuries were too severe, and he died three days and three hours after being shot. At least 20 suspects were picked up by the police and some were believed to have been involved but apparently adequate evidence was not secured, and all were eventually released. No one was ever convicted for the murder of Detective Sergeant Dunleavy.

John W. Dunleavy was born in England in June of 1868. He immigrated to the USA in 1891 and married Minnie Knape in Pueblo on January 19, 1892. He sold cigars before he joined the Pueblo Police Department. John was survived by his wife and four children, Edward, 20, Frank, 15, Edith, 12 and Mary, 8; sister Mrs. R. Ryan of Pittsburgh and his brother Edwin.

Services were held on July 28 at St. Francis Xavier Church at Spruce and Logan. Mayor Fugard, a large contingent of police officers, fireman and city officials attended. Many friends and members of lodges that Dunleavy was a member of were also present. The city council passed a resolution honoring Dunleavy noting that he was “Brave in life...and surpassingly (sic) so in death.” Burial followed at Roselawn Cemetery.

EOW: 25 Jul 1909 
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Pueblo Police Department
Pueblo Chieftain – July 22-28, 1909
Ancestry – Library Edition