Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 33 years, 4 months, 27 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Operational Services: Unit 141 - Office of the First Deputy Superintendent
District of Incident (Present Day): 018 - Near North
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 57
Date of Birth: 20 Oct 1923
Date of Appointment: 10 Oct 1947
Date of Incident: 06 Jun 1981
End of Watch: 06 Jun 1981
Date of Interment: 10 Jun 1981
Cemetery: Calvary Cemetery - Evanston, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 10, Block 5, Section L
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 20
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 35
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 48-E: 10
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Navy
Incident & Biographic Details
First Deputy Police Superintendent James John Riordan, Sr., Star #103, aged 57 years, was a 33 year, 4 month, 4 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Operational Services: Unit 141 – Office of the First Deputy Superintendent.
On June 6, 1981, at 9:27 p.m., First Deputy Riordan was unarmed and off duty at Lattner’s Restaurant in Marina City located at 300 North State Street. He was at the bar with another man and two women. According to eyewitnesses, Leon F. Washington, age 35, of 220 East Garfield Boulevard was intoxicated and harassing restaurant patrons, specifically women. First Deputy Riordan intervened when Washington, a former Davenport, Iowa police officer, harassed one of his dinner companions. As First Deputy Riordan was escorting Washington into a corridor beside the restaurant, Washington produced a .380 caliber Walther PPK semiautomatic handgun and shot First Deputy Riordan four times, twice in the neck, once in the right shoulder and once in the upper chest. First Deputy Riordan fell into the fountain in the hallway as Washington began to flee down the hallway. Bystanders had called 911 to report the shots fired. Tactical officers on beat 164B, Patrolman D. Barnes and L. Boston, responded to the call of a man shot at 300 North State Street. Upon arrival the officers were directed by numerous witnesses to the hallway which led eastward from the restaurant to an exit located at State Street. At the east end of the hallway the officers observed Washington standing next to a pillar and placed him in custody after witnesses identified him as the person who shot First Deputy Riordan. First Deputy Riordan was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital by CFD Ambulance #42 where he was pronounced dead by Dr. Fredrickson at 11:54 p.m. on June 6, 1981. He died as the result of Injuries during surgery.
Leon Washington was arrested. He stood trial, found guilty and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
First Deputy Superintendent Riordan was waked at Lain-Hursen Funeral Home located at 6125 North Clark Street. His funeral mass was held at St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church located at 1420 West Granville Avenue. He was laid to rest on June 10, 1981 in Calvary Cemetery, 301 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. His grave is located at the 2nd Southeast Corner in Lot 10, Block 5, Section L.
First Deputy Superintendent James John Riordan, Sr., born October 20, 1923, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 10, 1947. Upon his appointment he was issued Star #7712. On June 3, 1954 he was promoted to Sergeant, Star #757. On April 16, 1956 he was promoted to Lieutenant, Star #232. On June 15, 1962 he was promoted to Captain, Star #103. In November 1962 he was promoted to District Commander of the 1st District and held that position until June 1, 1969. During the 1968 Democratic National Convention he held the position of Field Marshall. On June 1, 1969 he was promoted to Deputy Chief of the Traffic Division and held that position until May 16, 1970. On May 16, 1970 he was promoted to Chief of Patrol and demoted to Deputy Chief of the Traffic Division four months later on April 16, 1974. He held that position until September 16, 1978 when he was moved as Deputy Chief of the Patrol Division, Area 5 and held that position until June 1, 1979. On June 1, 1979 he was once again promoted to Chief of Patrol. On August 1, 1979 he was promoted to First Deputy Superintendent of Police.
First Deputy Superintendent Riordan served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 thru April 13, 1946, was a veteran of World War II and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Machinists Mate Second Class. He was survived by his wife, Loretta (nee Flynn), age 56; children: Elizabeth Anne, age 23, James John, Jr. (CPD), age 32, John Kevin, age 16, Joseph Emmet, age 23, Michael Allen (CPD), age 24, Patrick Francis, age 30 and William Michael, age 33; siblings: Gertrude, Helen C., Joseph, Marjorie A. and Thomas (Civilian CPD). He was preceded in death by his parents: Anna (nee Hill) and William Martin. Five of his children would become Chicago Police Officers.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #C206275.
In June of 1981, the Chicago Police Headquarters Building located at 1121 South State Street was renamed in Riordan’s honor.