Two Boston Police officers to receive Schroeder Brother Memorial Medal, a medal in honor of two officers slain in 1970s
Boston Police headquarters sits at 1 Schroeder Plaza, named in honor of two Boston Police brothers who died three years apart in the 1970s while responding to robberies.
On Sunday, Boston Police officers William Hull and Mark Whalen will be honored with the Schroeder Brother Memorial Medal in the 150th Boston Police Relief Organization’s Awards Ball. The pair also received the Trooper George Hanna Memorial Award, the state’s highest law enforcement honor for bravery, in a ceremony last year, according to the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.
On Feb. 22, 2019, Whalen and Hull were checking on a man slumped over in a minivan, which they found out had a recent conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm. When they questioned him, according to a release from the governor’s office, he shot at them. Whalen was shot in the right hand and forearm and the suspect died after crashing into a parked vehicle several blocks away.
On Saturday, descendants of the great-grandchildren of one of the Schroeder brothers, John, visited the inside of HQ for the first time a day ahead of the ball, where the award is handed out yearly by John’s grandchildren Amy Mulrenan, of Winchester, and Beth Schroeder, of Agawam.
“The Schroeder medal is the highest medal they give out, so it’s truly an honor to us and our kids to come every year to do this,” Beth Schroeder said as she and her sister stood in front of the HQ memorial wall.
On Sept. 23, 1970, Patrolman Walter Schroeder, 42, lay in critical condition at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston “by a bullet fired into his back by bandits fleeing from a $26,000 holdup” at a Brighton bank, the Herald reported the next morning.
“Gunplay was a subject he never cared to discuss” the family of the recipient of four commendations for bravery told the Herald as they waited for news as Walter underwent surgery and Bostonians rushed to donate blood in an effort to save his life. He died that day.
Detective John Schroeder, 55, “was shot to death in cold blood shortly before noon” Nov. 30, 1973 “while attempting to thwart three armed men during the holdup of a Roxbury pawn shop,” the Herald reported.
John, a 24-year member of the police department, had been at the pawn shop conducting a background check when the gunmen entered, the paper reported. He ordered the men to stand down but was shot in the temple.
“As Schroeder lay mortally wounded on the floor, his blood staining a wide area, the bandits proceeded with the robbery,” the paper wrote, adding they even stole John’s service revolver.
Police work lives on in the family, sisters Amy and Beth said, with at least one of Walter’s grandsons, Paul, serving as a police officer, and John’s first grandson, Chris, serving out in Utah.
There may be yet another generation, as Beth’s son Rhein Ingham, 15, said he’d like to be a police officer.
“It’s a big honor,” he said. “I want to live up to the name.”