P.O. Robert L. Gallowitch #15442

Name: Gallowitch, Robert L.
Star: 15442
Memorial Panel #: 13
Rank: Police Officer
District / Unit: Kensington Station
End of Watch: 24 May 1972
Incident Details: Police Officer Robert Gallowitch, 30, was a 17-month veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Kensington Station. On May 24, 1972, Officer Gallowitch responded to a burglary-in-progress occurring at a jewelry store located in the 8600 block of South Cottage Grove. Officer Gallowitch was met by two additional officers at the scene. The partners staked out the front entrance as Officer Gallowitch drove his squad car to the rear exit of the store which was located in an alleyway. In the alley, Officer Gallowitch encountered the three armed robbers. The offenders — Calvin Jackson, 21, Wilbert Droughns, 20, and Frederick Lancaster, 21, — intended to cut the telephone wires when they mistakenly cut the alarm system’s wires, triggering it. Upon seeing Officer Gallowitch in his squad car, Lancaster immediately opened fire, fatally wounding Officer Gallowitch. The three men attempted to drive away in a stolen Illinois Bell Telephone Company truck, but were blocked by Officer Gallowitch’s squad car. Lancaster was shot by an officer. Officer Gallowitch was transported to Jackson Park Hospital. After a five hour surgery in which his heart stopped six times, he died. Lancaster, Droughns, and Jackson were arrested and charged with murder, robbery, unlawful restraint, and conspiracy to commit robbery. Frederick Lancaster, 21, pleaded guilty in a plea-bargaining agreement in 1972. Judge Ryan sentenced him to serve 20 to 40 years in prison. In the fall of 1981, a prisoner review board denied him early release. On July 29, 1982, Judge Ryan granted Lancaster early release. The Illinois State Attorney’s Office immediately obtained a stay on Lancaster’s release. Two days later, the Illinois Appellate Court overruled Judge Ryan’s ruling on the grounds that he did not have the authority to release Lancaster. Lancaster was returned to Joliet Correctional Facility. Officer Gallowitch’s funeral mass was held at Church of Annunciata and he was laid to rest in Evergreen Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Joan, and children, Robert and Michelle.