LINE OF DUTY DEATHS
Roll Call of all Line of Duty Deaths. A Line of Duty Death is classified as the death of an active sworn member by felonious or accidental means during the course of performing police functions while on or off duty.
Police Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez Sr.
Police Officer Alejandro “Alex“ Valadez, Sr., Star #9534, aged 27 years, was a 3 year, 5 month, 27 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 7th District - Englewood.
On June 1, 2009, at 12:12 a.m., Officer Valadez and his partner, Police Officer Thomas Vargas, were working the first watch on beat 706C in plain clothes. The officers responded to a call of ""Shots Fired,"" gang members hiding guns in a red garage located at 6027 South Hermitage. As Officers Valadez and Vargas were questioning several individuals in front of the address, a vehicle drove up and Shawn Gaston, age 20, of 6235 South Paulina Street, opened fire. Officer Valadez was shot once in the leg and once in the head; the bullet pierced through Valadez's left ear and lodged in his brain. Gaston then fled the scene making good his escape. Officer Valadez was transported to Stroger Hospital of Cook County by CFD Ambulance #49 and was pronounced dead by Dr. Segovia at 2:40 p.m. on June 1, 2009.
Following the incident several pieces of evidence against Shawn Gaston and Kevin Walker were collected. However the big break in the case came from an Illinois State Trooper, who, by chance, had stopped Gaston and Walker the day before the shooting in a 2007 Pontiac G6, the same car detectives believed was used in the shooting. Gaston and Walker were stopped for a seat belt violation and issued a moving violation. The Trooper’s in car camera also videotaped the traffic stop. Detectives tracked down the ticket and contacted the State Police to inquire about whether there was a tape recording. The State Police confirmed and turned over the tape to investigators. The Department’s Targeted Response Unit later recovered the car. Recovered inside were three guns including one in the trunk of the car that detectives believed was the murder weapon. A shell casing was also recovered in the car, which matched those found at the crime scene. Shawn Gaston and Kevin Walker were later arrested and in a statement, Gaston admitted he was the shooter and that Walker was the driver of the car. Gunshot residue tests were conducted on Harris' hand and they came back positive, while Walker's fingerprint was found on a .40 caliber gun also used in the crime.
In September 2011, Gaston was convicted of the murder and attempted murder of Officer Valadez. He was subsequently sentenced to 125 years in prison. On October 9, 2013, Harris was convicted of murder and attempted murder as well as the getaway driver in the shooting, Kevin Walker, age 25.
Officer Valadez was waked at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home located at 4727 West 103rd Street, his funeral mass was held at St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church located at 8200 South Kostner Avenue and he was laid to rest on June 6, 2009 in Mount Auburn Memorial Park Cemetery, 4101 Oak Park Avenue, Berwyn, Illinois.
Police Officer Alejando “Alex“ Valadez, Sr., born February 1, 1982, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on December 5, 2005. He earned 1 Department Commendation and 22 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Valadez was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Latin American Police Association. He was survived by his expectant fiancée, Christina Rodriguez (CPD), age 33; parents: Margarita (nee Garcia) and Rogelio, Sr., age 74; siblings, Adrian (CPD), Brenda (CPD) and Wilda Garcia. Following Officer Valadez death his fiancée gave birth to a baby boy, Alejandro Valadez, Jr., on September 9, 2009.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #HR351507.
On July 13, 2010, the 2600 block of West 26th Street was dedicated as “Honorary Officer Alejandro Valadez Avenue.” One brown honorary street sign was erected. The sign was located on the southwest corner of 26th Street and Homan Avenue in the heart of the Little Village community where Officer Valadez grew up.
Patrolman Roger Wilfred Van Schaik
Patrolman Roger Wilfred Van Schaik, Star #14299, aged 31 years, was a 12 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 5th District - Kensington Tactical Unit.
On December, 13 1978, Kenneth Allen, age 36, of 10200 South St. Lawrence Avenue, had been arrested and his weapons seized through search warrant. Three months later, Allen still seethed with resentment over the incident. Early in the afternoon of March 3, 1979, Allen visited a locksmith and glazier with a curious question. He wanted to know if the glass in Chicago Police cars was bulletproof. The proprietor of the shop, Stanley Evans, told him that only Chicago riot wagons had bulletproof glass.
On March 3, 1979, at 4:15 p.m., Officers Bosak and Van Schaik were working the third watch on beat 561 in plain clothes. The officers had just finished a traffic stop on west 115th and May Streets. During the traffic stop Allen parked his brown 1972 Ford LTD across the street from Officers Bosak and Van Schaik as they were conducting their traffic stop. He lay in wait as he was planning to ambush the officers. As the officers returned to their squad car with their back to him, Allen opened fire on Officer Bosak with a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, emptying the magazine. Officer Bosak was hit three times and collapsed to the ground. Allen then drew a second pistol and exited his car to engage Van Schaik, who was on the opposite side of the unmarked police car. Allen engaged him in a gun battle, the two men circling the squad car, both men exhausting their ammunition without scoring a hit. Allen then returned to his car and retrieved a .30 caliber carbine rifle. Meanwhile Officer Van Schaik was able to radio a 10-1 (Officer needs assistance) call for help from the radio in the squad car. Allen then returned and again opened fire on Van Schaik, wounding but not killing the officer. The rifle jammed after two or three shots. While Van Schaik lay wounded on the ground Allen retrieved the .38 caliber service revolver from Officer Bosak. He returned to the front of the car where the wounded Van Schaik lay and executed him with two shots to the face at point blank range.
Allen remained on the scene until two other officers arrived in response to the distress call. He initially fled in his car but quickly returned, attempting to shoot the officers as he drove past. Several more squad cars arrived in pursuit of Allen, still firing from the windows with Officer Bosak's service revolver and a now unjammed carbine. After two collisions with squad cars and one with a CTA bus, Allen was finally stopped when Officer Lawrence Rapien intentionally steered his squad car head on into Allen's car. Allen was taken into custody and the scene was secured. Officer Van Schaik was transported to Roseland Community Hospital by beat 2273 and was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Arya at 4:45 p.m. on March 3, 1979. Officer Bosak was also transported to Roseland Community Hospital by beat 2273 and was pronounced dead by Dr. Arya at 5:00 p.m. on March 3, 1979.
Several guns were confiscated from Allen's car, along with about 250 rounds of ammunition, and a notebook containing the names, addresses, license plate numbers and phone numbers of several police officers and Everette Braden. Braden was the judge who had signed the search warrant authorizing Chicago Police to enter Allen's home.
Kenneth Allen was charged with two counts of murder. He represented himself at his trial and pleaded guilty to the murders of Bosak and Van Schaik. Allen would be convicted of the murders and later sentenced to death. In court Allen stated he had killed the officers for committing “another violation of the people's rights by police“ (i.e. the traffic stop), and because he recognized, mistakenly, Bosak from the standoff at his house on December 13, 1978. Neither officer had been present at that incident. Because of this, and because of evidence, the large amount of ammunition, the notebook, the earlier questioning of the glazier, the jury agreed that he had premeditated the killings.
Kenneth Allen remained under a sentence of death for many years before his sentence was commuted in 2003 in controversial circumstances by the embattled Governor of Illinois, George Ryan. As his last act in office, Ryan commuted the sentences of all 167 convicts on or waiting to be sent to Illinois' Death Row to life in prison. As of 2009 Kenneth Allen remains in Menard Correctional Center.
Officer Van Schaik was waked at Sheehy Funeral Home located at 10727 South Pulaski Road, his funeral service was also held at the Sheehy Funeral Home and he was laid to rest on March 7, 1979 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois.
Patrolman Roger Wilfred Van Schaik, born June 16, 1947, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on July 7, 1969. He earned 40 Honorable mentions During his career.
Patrolman Van Schaik was a member of the Confederation of Police, Illinois Police Association and the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Ann Marie (nee Haywood), age 28; children: Deanna Lynn Opyd, age 9 Erica, age 4 months and Mark Roger Opyd, age 11 and his brother, John (CFD).
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #A075329 Homicide, A796792 Traffic Crash and A796819 Traffic Crash.
In March 1979, Officer Van Schaik's star was retired by Superintendent James E. O'Grady and enshrined in the Superintendent's Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Van Schaik's Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.
Kenneth Allen, born October 17, 1942, is the convicted murderer of Chicago Police Officers William Bosak and Roger Van Schaik. He is currently serving life in prison without parole in Illinois.
Earlier confrontations with police:
On both December 10th and 13th, 1978, Chicago Police were contacted by Allen's common-law wife, Bianca Smith, who complained of having “problems“ with Allen, and that he was heavily armed. Officers were both times dispatched to Allen and Smith's residence to deal with the domestic complaints. The second time, Allen was refusing Smith entry to their shared residence, and demonstrated his willingness to continue to do so by brandishing various firearms at police from his front doorstep and telling the officers “the next fucking pig that puts his foot on my property, I'm going to blow his head off“ and “you motherfuckers are all going to pay for this.“
Eventually, after a 19 hour standoff and in front of several Chicago TV crews, Allen surrendered to the police without a shot being fired. While Allen was incarcerated pending bail for this incident, Judge Everette Braden issued a search warrant for Allen's home. It was executed later that day, while Allen was still in jail, whereupon officers retrieved the following firearms:
- one Colt .45 semiautomatic pistol,
- one Smith & Wesson revolver, model 27,
- one Smith & Wesson revolver, model 57 (highly similar or identical to the S&W Model 29),
- one Colt .357 Python revolver,
- one.44 Ruger Super Blackhawk revolver,
- one Winslow 7mm rifle,
- one Weatherby 12-gauge shotgun,
- and over a thousand rounds of various kinds of ammunition.
Officers on the scene of the standoff claimed to have seen Allen at times bearing a gun that appeared to be an M16 rifle, however no such gun was recovered by the officers executing the search warrant. Upon returning home from jail, Allen was furious that his guns had been confiscated. He contacted lawyer Kermit Coleman to sue for their return, but was informed it was unlikely he would ever get them back from the police.
Patrol Specialist Andre H. Van Vegten
Patrol Specialist Andre H. Van Vegten, Star #14931, aged 65 years, was a 32 year, 9 month, 3 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 8th District - Chicago Lawn.
On January 7, 1997, at 11:21 p.m., Officer Van Vegten and his partner Patrolman Matt Koman, were working beat 844. The officers were responding to a “shots fired” call at the CHA's LeClaire Courts housing complex located at 4941 West 44th Street. While enroute the officers spotted a vehicle containing four known gang members who immediately fled northbound on Cicero Avenue at a high rate of speed. Before Officer Koman could radio in the pursuit another maroon vehicle veered into their lane of traffic and struck the squad car. Officer Van Vegten was forced to take evasive action and was forced to swerve left to avoid a crash. The squad car struck the center-lane curb and crashed head on into a concrete planter located in the median in front of 5046 South Cicero Avenue. The squad car then caught fire while the officers were still inside. Two passerby, Mr. Valdemar Delgado and Ben Howard, an off duty Cook County Sheriff Corrections Officer, observed the crash occur and pulled over to assist. Officer Howard attempted to open the squad car doors with negative results. Howard then returned to his vehicle and retrieved a crowbar in which he used to break the windows of the squad car. Mr. Delgado and Officer Howard then pulled Officer Koman out of the window and away from the vehicle. They then pulled Officer Van Vegten from the squad car just before it became fully engulfed in flames. Officer Komen was transported to Christ Hospital by CFD Ambulance #21 and was treated and released in February after his injuries were treated. Officer Van Vegten was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital by CFD Ambulance #12 in critical condition. He sustained a collapsed lung, a shattered right femur and a broken rib, which had pierced his aorta. The rapid blood loss from that injury left him paralyzed from the chest down and legally blind. After emerging from a six-week coma, the officer underwent several surgeries at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for therapy. In the following years, Officer Van Vegten suffered through numerous surgeries and continuously battled infections and wounds that required months or years to heal.
Officer Van Vegten was 44 years old at the time of the incident, would enter the Disability Pension Roll (DPR) on March 11, 1998 and later resign from the Department on August 20, 2015. He survived the crash but would suffer from years of vision loss and therapies. Every day of his life continued to be a new challenge. For the past several years of his life Officer Van Vegten had volunteered for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. Officer Van Vegten passed away on November 2, 2017, from complications resulting from his line of duty injury. On December 15, 2017, the Will County Coroner’s Office ruled that his death resulted from injuries he sustained in the crash.
Officer Van Vegten was waked at Orland Funeral Home located at 9900 West 143rd Street, Orland Park, Illinois and he was laid to rest on November 4, 2017 in Good Shepherd Catholic Cemetery Cemetery, 16201 South 104th Avenue, Orland Park, Illinois.
Patrol Specialist Andre H. Van Vegten, born on August 20, 1952, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on November 17, 1986. He was certified as a Patrol Specialist in 1990.
Officer Van Vegten was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his daughter, Jennifer.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #B017876.
On July 17, 2018, Officer Van Vegten's star was retired by Superintendent of Police Eddie T. Johnson and enshrined in the Superintendent's Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.
Patrolman Larry James Vincent
Patrolman Larry James Vincent, Star #15161, aged 29 years, was a 2 year, 11 month, 14 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 2nd District - Wentworth Tactical Unit.
On January 14, 1983, at 7:03 p.m., Officer Vincent and his partner, Patrolman George Lipinski, were working the third watch on beat 262C. They responded to a burglary in progress call at a three story apartment building located at 5131 South Calumet Avenue. Upon arrival Officer Vincent entered the building from the front while his partner went to the back. Beat 262D, Patrolman Clarence Spraggins and Patrolman Jackie Stewart arrived a few minutes later. Officer Spraggins went to the front to back up Officer Vincent and Officer Stewart to the rear with Officer Lipinski. Officers Vincent and Spraggins then made entry and confronted two suspects, Nicky Cozart, age 28, of 4242 South Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and Darnell Davis, age 24, of 4048 South Lake Park Avenue. The confrontation took place in a first floor hall area as the offenders were attempting to escape through a first floor window. As the men leapt from the window Officers Vincent and Spraggins fired at them. Cozart was grazed in the abdomen. It was dark and the windows were covered with an opaque substance. The officers in the rear, hearing the gunfire, ran to the front and one of them thinking they were being shot at by a third offender returned fire into the open window. Tragically he was shooting at Officers Vincent and Spraggins. Both were struck, Vincent in the right side of his face and Spraggins in the arm. Officers Vincent and Spraggins stumbled out the front door and collapsed in the snow. Additional backup officers arrived and assisted the wounded officers. Cozart and Davis were captured outside the building and placed into custody. Officer Spraggins was transported to Provident Hospital by beat 271 where he was admitted and eventually made a full recovery. Officer Vincent was transported to Billings Hospital by CFD Ambulance #36 and was pronounced dead by Dr. Cardey at 8:06 p.m. on January 14, 1983.
Nicky Cozart and Darnell Davis were charged with felony murder, home invasion and robbery. They were held without bail pending their trial.
Officer Vincent was waked at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home located at 4727 West 103rd Street, Oak Lawn, Illinois, his funeral mass was held at St. Thomas More Church located at 2825 West 81st Street and he was laid to rest on January 18, 1983 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois.
Patrolman Larry James Vincent, December 11, 1953, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on January 28, 1980 and was in Recruit Class 80-1 at the Jackson Street Police Academy.
Officer Vincent was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his expectant wife, Marilyn Grace (nee Purciarello), age 25; children: Anthony Michael, age 2 (CPD) and Jason Paul, age 9; parents: Agnes (nee Rourke) and Donald (CPD); sisters: Deloris and Mary and uncle, Cornelius Rourke (CPD). Following Officer Vincent's death his wife gave birth to a baby boy, Donald Larry Vincent, on June 9, 1983.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #E017596.
Patrolman Arthur Vollmar
Patrolman Arthur Vollmar, Star #886, aged 36 years, was a 2 year, 9 month, 27 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 38th District - Town Hall.
On February 22, 1929, at 7:45 p.m., Officer Vollmar was riding his motorcycle with his partner Carl Pablowski seated in the sidecar at Clark and School Streets. A pedestrian, Dr. Walter A. Birgerson, pointed to a man, Ralph Yarck, a block away that was running west on the street and stated that he had just robbed him. Birgerson shouted, "That man just held me up, Get him." Yarck, who was described as heavy set with a beard, robbed Birgerson of $8.00 in front of his residence and then fled on foot. Birgerson then followed the robber until he saw the officers. Vollmar and Pablowski then gave chase. As Ralph Yarck saw the policemen approach, the fugitive attempted to flee by jumping on a moving Clark Street streetcar going south. Failing in this attempt, he drew a revolver and fired at the policemen as he continued his flight. The officers, who were not hurt, returned fire but missed.
The fugitive then stopped in his tracks, took aim, and fired again. Officer Vollmar toppled from the motorcycle after being shot in the head. The motorcycle, careening across the street, grazed an automobile parked at the curb. It then jumped the curb and knocked down a female pedestrian who was on the sidewalk.
Officer Pablowski then jumped out of the sidecar and took up the pursuit on foot. Yarck disappeared down a nearby alley. At the head of the alley, Pablowski emptied his revolver at the assailant, who stumbled, but quickly regained his footing and escaped. Pablowski said he believed he wounded the killer because he stumbled. The bandit escaped when Pablowski, who continued the pursuit, collapsed from a heart attack. Officer Vollmar was transported to John B. Murphy Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Officer Pablowski recovered from the heart attack and returned to duty.
On April 29, 1931, Ralph Yarck was brought back from Alton, Illinois to face trial. On April 30, 1931, the case was nolle prossed in Branch 29.
Officer Vollmar was laid to rest on February 27, 1929 in Irving Park Cemetery, 7777 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Arthur Vollmar, born August 11, 1892, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 26, 1926.
Officer Vollmar was survived by his wife, Vena and two children.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department homicide file, Case #11283.
Ironically, Sergeant Vollmar's star number was previously issued to Sergeant Harry J. Gray, who was also killed in the Line of Duty on November 2, 1925.
Patrolman Ingar C. Volquartz
Patrolman Ingar C. Volquartz, Star # Unknown, aged 39 years, was a 4 year, 7 month, 23 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 20, 32nd Precinct - West Chicago.
On June 25, 1915, Officer Volquartz while on motorcycle patrol was involved in an automobile crash with an auto driven by Elmer Anderson of 5033 West Chicago Avenue. Mr. Officer Volquartz died from injuries sustained in the crash. Andersen was held in connection with the crash. Further details are unavailable, but Officer Volquartz is listed in the Proceedings of the City Council of the City of Chicago as dying in the discharge of his duties.
Officer Volquartz was waked at his residence located at 5466 West Haddon Avenue and he was laid to rest on June 28, 1915 in Mount Olive Cemetery, 3800 North Narragansett Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Ingar C. Volquartz, born September 8, 1875, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on January 10, 1910.
Officer Volquartz was survived by his wife, Anna (nee Petersen).
Chicago Police Department homicide file not found for this incident.
Patrolman John Vondruska Jr.
Patrolman John J. Vondruska, Jr., Star #6048, aged 32 years, was an 8 year, 6 month, 24 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 25th District - Fillmore.
On January 1, 1931, at 6:50 a.m., Officer Vondruska was detailed to help prevent robberies and protect the money turned in by the drivers at the Yellow Cab Company garage located at 4950 West Flournoy Street. On New Year’s Day, five armed robbers arrived in two automobiles and entered the facility and yelled “Stick ‘em up.” The robbers were intent on taking the $8,000.00 dollars in payroll. Officer Vondruska, upon seeing the offenders enter, fired the first shot. One of the intruders, armed with a sawed-off shotgun and another with a machine gun then opened fire on Officer Vondruska. A cab driver, William Smith, heard the gunshots and was shot twice in the legs when he ran to assist the wounded officer. Members of the "42" gang were subsequently arrested. Mike Mercurio, age 24, was arrested later in the day in the Maxwell Street District and found to be wounded by shotgun fire. He was positively identified as one of the bandits. He refused to name his accomplices, but five witnesses were able to identify two of the gunmen from a police photo lineup. The witnesses identified Mike DeSteffano and George Conrad.
On June 29, 1931, Mercurio, on a plea of guilty, was sentenced to 20 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge Joseph David.
Officer Vondruska was laid to rest on January 5, 1931 in St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery, 6800 North Milwaukee Avenue, Niles, Illinois.
Patrolman John J. Vondruska, Jr., born August 29, 1898, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 8, 1929.