FBI History

Hall of Honor
FBI Agents Killed as the Result of an Adversarial Action

Photograph of Edwin C. Shanahan

EDWIN C. SHANAHAN
1898 - 1925

On October 11, 1925, Special Agent Edwin C. Shanahan, the first FBI Agent killed in the line of duty, was murdered by Martin J. Durkin, a car thief who had previously wounded four police officers to avoid capture, in Chicago, Illinois. Upon receiving word from underworld sources that Durkin was planning to hide a stolen automobile in a certain Chicago garage, SA Shanahan and officers of the Chicago Police Department proceeded to that garage to wait for Durkin to appear. When Durkin drove the stolen car into the garage, SA Shanahan, who was alone at the time, attempted to arrest him. However, Durkin swept an automatic pistol from the front seat of the car and shot the Agent in the chest. SA Shanahan returned fire, but Durkin escaped as his victim collapsed. Death was almost instantaneous. Durkin was sentenced to 35 years in prison for SA Shanahan's murder and received an additional 15 years on stolen motor vehicle charges.

SA Shanahan was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1898. He entered on duty with the FBI, then the Bureau of Investigation, in 1920. SA Shanahan was 27 years old when he died.

Read more about the day's tragic events in the FBI History section: Durkin - Murder of an FBI Special Agent.

Adversarial Action | Performance of Duty | FBI History