P.O. John W. Mathews #9827


Mathews, John W.



Memorial Panel #:



Police Officer

District / Unit:


End of Watch:

21 May 1988

Incident Details:

Police Officer John Mathews, 26, was an 18-month veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 004 District. On the night of May 21, 1988, Officer Mathews was off duty when he heard a police radio call about a disturbance a block away from his home. Officer Mathews walked over and assisted the responding officers in clearing the scene. Later in the evening, Officer Mathews was confronted by the five men: James Kennedy, Edward Manzo, Ralph Gabriel, Dean Chavez and Anthony Chavez. Officer Mathews, feeling threatened, announced that he was a police officer. Instead of dispersing, one of the offenders struck the officer with a bat and the others joined in hitting the officer. As the officer laid on the ground, Anthony Chavez stole his police star and wallet and then proceeded to strike him in the head with a large brick. Officer Matthews died at the scene. All five assailants were arrested and convicted. Anthony and Dean Chavez were both convicted of second-degree murder and were sentenced to 27 years in prison. James Kennedy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Ralph Gabriel, an Army Corporal, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Edward Manzo pleaded guilty to concealing a homicide and was sentenced to two years in prison. Officer Mathews’ funeral mass was held at St. Columba Catholic Church and he was laid to rest in Holy Cross Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Laura; children, Joseph, John, Jr., and Anne Marie; and his parents, Lorraine and Richard.