Woman Killed By Shot From Patrolman’s Gun in Holyoke Tenement

by Laurel | February 12th, 2014

11 Feb 1924

Wines and Spirits

Prohibition — Illegal Wines and Spirits to blame?

Mrs. Magdalene Milosz of 135 Lyman Street Victim of Tragedy —
Patrolman John H. Burns, Claimed to Have Fired Fatal Shot, Held by Police “Pending Official Investigation” —
No Charge Yet Made Against Him —
Officer Off Duty and Alleged to Have Fired One Shot Before One That Hit Woman

Holyoke, Feb 10 — Mrs. Magdalene Milosz, 45, wife of Stanley Milosz, died at the House of Providence Hospital about 6 this morning from a would from a .38-caliber revolver inclicted, it is believed, by Patrolman John H .Burns 0f 280 Maple Street, about 5:30, in the Milosz tenement on he second floor of 135 Lyman Street. With Burns, who is locked up in the police station, was John Hayznik of 59 Union Street, who is charged with drunkenness.

No Charge Against Burns

There is no charge against Burns at the present time and according to City Marshal William D. Nolen, there will be no charge preferred against him until tomorrow morning.

“He is being detained pending official police investigation,” said Marshal Nolen. Further information as to what occurred in the Milosz tenement is also withheld by the police until the completion of their investigation.

From what can be learned from neighbors and others, Burns and his companion entered the Milosz tenement about 5:15 this morning. Both, according to reports, appeared to have been drinking and demanded liquor. An altercation arose over it and Burns is alleged to have pulled his gun and fired a bullet unto the wall of the room over the table, possibly in bravado. He then is alleged to have pointed the revolver toward Milosz abnd Mrs. Milosz is said to have screamed and run between te two. The weapon was discharged and Mrs. Molisz received the heavy bullet in the abdomen, the bullet cutting a large artery. Severe internal hemorrhage caused her death.

Milosz Jumps Out Window

Milosz, the woman’s husband jumped out of the window from the rear of the tenement to the ground beneath after the second shot and dislocated the bones of a let. He crawled around from the back yard to the alley abutting the block and was later taken in the police wagon to the hospital.

A milkman close by the house heard the racket and, rushing out, told a man named Belleme, who called patrolman George Leary, who went down to investigate. From that time things began to move. A squad of officers headed by Sergt. Dennis Mack, went over to the place, and Capt. Peter E. Cullen and Inspector Edward F. Gilday were summoned.

Met Woman Crying For Help

Stanley Serafinsky, who lives on the floor below, across from the Milosz tenement, heard the shots and ran into the hallway and at the dfoor met the woman, who was coming out of the tenement, and who was crying for help. He saw to men, one an officer, but he paid no attention to them at the time, as the woman was crying for aid. He took her and carried her upstairs to the tenement of Joseph F. Seftik on he floor directly over the Milosz tenement. Seftik had first been awakened by his wife and daughter, who had been aroused by a knocking of the wall or floor, and came out of the bedroom in his underclothes.

Mrs. Milosz cried to him: “Joe, help me! Help!” and adding the one word “shot,” sank down on the floor, bleeding from the wound in her body, and became unconscious. Seftik started to raise her, and called to his daughter, Miss Emma Seftik, who is a ticket-taker at the Victory Theater, to telephone for a doctor and the hospital. Miss Seftik called Dr. George Kinne, the police, and the House of Providence Hospital. The ambulance came before the doctor, and Mrs. Milosz was taken to the hospital, where she died without regaining consciousness about 20 minutes later. Dr. Thomas E. Shea attended her at the hospital.

According to neighbors, moonshine has been sold at the Milosz tenement for some time, and the statement is partly corroborated at least by the number of empty bottles and an empty jug in one of the four rooms of the tenement.

Police Refuse Information About Burns

Burns was accompanied to the police station by Sergts. P. F. Ryan and Dennis Mack, and Patrolman Edward Ashe. Statements as to Patrolman Burns’ conditions when he arrived at the station, were refused by the police. Patrolman Burns is the son of Mrs. Nellie Burns, owner of the Blenheim and other property and she has engaged Atty. Hugh J. Lacey to represent his interests. he is married and has two children.

Previous to his joining the police force, Burns had worked on the Holyoke Street Railway as conductor, for about three years. He was quiet and efficient as a conductor, and left with a clean record. He was appointed to the police force by Mayor John F. Cronin in April 1923, along with nine other men from the reserve list. he has had no black marks against him so far as known

Bullet Hole Over Table

The kitchen in the tenement where Mrs. Milosz was shot is a small room in rather poor repair containing a range and table and chairs. Over the table is the bullet hole in the wall. It is in the woodwork about six inches above the table and from its appearance the shot was evidently fired from the direction of the door. At the foot of a chair at the left of the table blood marks appear and a trail of these marks leads from the table to the door where Serafinsky came and carried her upstairs. There are three children, the oldest eight years old. While not not over-clean, the tenement was in better condition than many of its class, although in halls and rooms the plaster has fallen off in several places giving it an untidy appearance.

Patrolman Was Off Duty

Patrolman Burns was off duty at the time of the shooting. His beat is in Ward 1 and he reported off duty at midnight last night. From that time until the time he entered the Milosz tenement his whereabouts are unknown unless the police have it with other facts that they are withholding. Burns was in strict “incommunicado” all day, no one being allowed to see him, so his story, if he has any, is yet to be heard.

The block in which the murdered woman lived is a three story brick structure between the old Hebert Saloon which bounds it on the east and the Crawford & Sharkey Saloon of older days now a “beverage” parlor on the west, with alley between. The smell of mash pervades the buildings from cellar to top. Milosz himself is a hardworking man being employed as a shoveler at times by local coal firms. Mrs. Milosz’s maiden name was Magdalene Slizek, and attempts were being made by friends tonight to locate her relative who live in Amsterdam, N.Y.

The three children were taken care of this afternoon by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Werenski of 80 High Street, and later turned over by him to friends on Union Street, who will care for them until Milosz is able to return from the hospital. He dislocated the bones of one leg when he jumped out of the window and will not be able to walk for some days.

Autopsy is Held

The cause of death was definitely determined by an autopsy held by Medical Examiner Frank A. Woods this afternoon at 3, who was summoned to view the body at 6:30 this morning. He got in touch with the district attorney’s office and a autopsy was at once ordered at Tony Symasko’s funeral parlors, where the body was taken from the hospital. Dr. Woods was assisted by Drs. Stanley Cox and Dr. W. P. Ryan at this autopsy.

Burns was a gun pointer in the navy and served on the Wyoming and the Nevada. He has a large number of friends in navy circles as well as in the city. He enlisted in June 1917.

Polish People Excited

The entire Polish population were excited to a high degree by the murder. The report that one of their number had been shot by a policeman was cause for some heated remarks until it was learned that Burns was off duty at the time.

Comment about the city was that a shakeup in the police department was overdue and that the shooting would serve to focus attention on the need for it.

This is the second moonshine tragedy within a year. On March 7 last Frank Burke, 35, was arrested at his home, 20 Chestnut Street, following the discovery that his wife had been beaten and kicked to death by him, both man and wife, it appearing, being so drunk that neither was more than half conscious. He was held for the grand jury on the charge of murder. This was later changed to manslaughter and he was given a term in prison.

A report that Milosz had been before the court for illegal selling proved to be groundless. He has been before the court for drunkenness only.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.