Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 36 years, 10 months, 26 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 6th District - Gresham
District of Incident (Present Day): 006 - Gresham
Cause of Death: Illness - Cirrhosis of the Liver
Age at Time of Death: 65
Date of Birth: 02 Sep 1926
Date of Appointment: 08 Oct 1951
Date of Incident: 23 Oct 1967
End of Watch: 07 Sep 1991
Date of Interment: 11 Sep 1991
Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case:
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 24
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall:
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall:
Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed
Military Service: Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Lieutenant Cornelius A. Rourke, Jr., Star #299, aged 65 years, was a 36 year, 10 month, 26 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 6th District - Gresham.
On October 23, 1967, Then Sergeant Rourke was driving Southbound on Halsted Street when he observed a vehicle rolling through a stop sign. The sergeant curbed the vehicle at 350 West 87th Street and ordered the occupants of the vehicle to exit. Lorenzo Bacon, 21, Richard Pillow, 18, and Ronald Turner, 21, exited the vehicle. Unbeknownst to the sergeant the three had earlier committed an armed robbery. The men were ordered to the rear of the vehicle and frisked. Sergeant Rourke was calling for assistance when two of the offenders began walking towards the passenger side of the car. Sergeant Rourke commanded them to return to their position. One of the men complied, but Lorenzo Bacon drew a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and turned around shooting the sergeant in the lower abdomen. The sergeant returned gunfire and struck Richard Pillow. The three men then fled the scene and abandoned their vehicle shortly after. Sergeant Rourke was rushed to Little Company of Mary Hospital by Patrolman Dennis O'Hare. Officer O'Hare had been driving his squad car nearby and was flagged down by a group of citizens.
Richard Pillow, was arrested when he sought medical treatment at a hospital for a bullet wound to the shoulder. Ronald Turner, was arrested while driving a get-away car in another incident. Lorenzo Bacon, was arrested by the Illinois State Police onboard a bus going to Wichita, Kansas. Pillow and Turner were charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, and aggravated battery. Both were found guilty of aggravated battery and were sentenced to serve three to five years. Bacon was charged and found guilty of attempted murder and aggravated battery. Bacon appealed his conviction and was subsequently released from prison. In 1974, Bacon was charged with attempted murder, armed violence, aggravated battery, four counts of armed robbery, and a weapons violation for robbing, pistol-whipping, and firing one failed shot at a 71 year old tavern owner. Later on, he attempted to shoot the arresting officer.
Sergeant Rourke survived the incident and had medical complications for the remainder of his life. On March 3, 1970, then Sergeant Rourke took a leave of absence from the Department. In 1979, then Sergeant Rourke returned to the Department. In 1980, he went on the Disability Pension Roll (DPR) due to his medical issues. In 1982, he once again returned to the Department. In 1986, he went back on the Disability Pension Roll (DPR). On September 3, 1988, Lieutenant Rourke retired. On September 7, 1991, he died from cirrhosis of the liver which he developed as a result of the blood transfusions he received when he was wounded.
Lieutenant Rourke's funeral mass was held at St. Bede the Venerable Church and was laid to rest on September 11, 1991 in Holy Sephulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Worth, Illinois.
Lieutenant Cornelius A. Rourke, Jr., born on September 2, 1926, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 8, 1951. He earned 1 Blue Star Award and 1 Citizens Traffic Safety Board Award during his career. On January 1, 1961, he was promoted to Sergeant. In March, 1970, he was promoted to Lieutenant. At the time of the incident Sergeant Rourke was issued Star #1264, which was subsequently reissued after he took a leave of absence. Upon being promoted to Lieutenant he was issued Star #299. Star #8169 was his Patrolman star number.
Lieutenant Rourke was a member of the Police Benevolent & Protective Association. He was survived by his wife, Dolores “Dee“ (nee Nelis); children: Daniel, John, Linda, Michael, Neal and Susan; mother, Mary C. (nee Burke); sister, Agnes T. and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, Cornelius A., Sr.