Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 1 year, 3 months, 16 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 23rd District - Town Hall
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 27
Date of Birth: 27 Jul 1968
Date of Appointment: 31 May 1994
Date of Incident: 16 Sep 1995
End of Watch: 16 Sep 1995
Date of Interment: 20 Sep 1995
Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Cremated
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-8
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 24
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 4, Line 16
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 31-W: 20
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Marine Corps
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman James “Jimmy“ Michael O'Connor, Star #4573, aged 27 years, was a 1 year, 3 month, 16 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, and was assigned to the 23rd District - Town Hall.
On September 16, 1995, at 2:55 a.m., Officer O'Connor was off duty outside of El Jardin restaurant located at 3335 North Clark Street. He was seated in his car speaking to Allison Bednarz. age 29, of 6857 North Northwest Highway, who was standing beside his car. A 1992 Toyota Corolla drove by and the passenger grabbed the woman's purse and then fled. The car was being driven by Franklin Drew Matthews, age 22, of 380 South Fernwood Drive, Bolingbrook, Illinois, who was believed to have committed previous robberies with his passenger, Raymond Ervin Thomas, age 14, of 112 Somerset Lane, Bolingbrook, Illinois. Officer O'Connor pursued the suspect vehicle and blocked its path with his 1995 GMC Jimmy at 4120 North Marine Drive. As the officer approached the offender's vehicle, shots rang out and O'Connor was struck twice, once in the top right shoulder and once in the chest. Despite his injuries, he was able to return fire, striking Matthews four times. Matthews attempted to flee by striking Officer O'Connor's truck and fleeing northbound on Marine Drive. Matthews would then strike a bus stop sign at 4170 North Marine Drive, then a parked car at 629 West Gordon Terrace, before crashing and coming to rest against a fire hydrant at 630 West Gordon Terrace. Officer O'Connor succumbed to his wounds at the scene and was pronounced dead by Cook County Medical Examiner Investigator Saunders at 4:20 a.m. on September 16, 1995. Matthews died in his vehicle as a result of his gunshots wounds and was pronounced dead by Cook County Medical Examiner Investigator Saunders at 5:50 a.m. on September 16, 1995.
Thomas was arrested at 3:00 a.m. at 726 West Buena Circle. He was charged with first degree murder and robbery. Thomas was tried in Cook County Juvenile Court.
Officer O'Connor was waked at Colombian Chapels located at 6901 West Belmont Avenue and his funeral mass was held in Our Lady Mother of the Church located at 8747 West Lawrence Avenue, was cremated, and entombed on September 20, 1995 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois.
Patrolman James “Jimmy“ Michael O'Connor, born July 27, 1968, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 31, 1994 and was in Recruit Class 94-3 at the Jackson Street Police Academy.
Officer O'Connor served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1990 thru 1994 and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his parents: Thomas and Louise (nee Rossdeutcher) and siblings: Daniel, Thomas and Timothy.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #Z435664 Homicide Case Report, Z435766 Theft Case Report and Z875314 Traffic Crash Report.
On February 6, 1996, Officer O'Connor's star was retired by Superintendent Matt L. Rodriguez 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 O'Connor's Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.