This Day in Milwaukee County History: On November 24, 1917, nine police officers and one civilian are killed when a bomb explodes at the Police Station on Broadway and Wells. The bombing was the most fatal single event in national law enforcement history until the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.
The large black powder bomb was discovered by social worker Maude L. Richter near and evangelical church in the Third Ward. Richter pulled the bomb into the church and reported it to the janitor. Sam Mazzone. Mazzone brought the bomb to police headquarters. Before the bomb could undergo its scheduled inspection, it exploded, killing nine officers nearby and one female civilian.
Those responsible for the bombing were never apprehended. It was suspected at the time that the bomb had been placed near the church by Galleani anarchists. Years later and after lengthy interviews with remaining Galleanists, it was revealed that Mario Buda, the faction’s chief bomb-maker, may have been involved in the incident.
Two days after the bombing, eleven alleged Italian anarchists were put on trail for unrelated crimes. With public panic at a fever pitch, convictions were all but certain. The story of the bombing, the eleven convicted anarchists and their fight for appeals is covered in Dean Strang’s historical non-fiction, Worse than the Devil.