Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 9 years, 7 months, 24 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 5th District - Kensington
District of Incident (Present Day): 005 - Calumet
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 31
Date of Birth: 16 Jun 1947
Date of Appointment: 07 Jul 1969
Date of Incident: 03 Mar 1979
End of Watch: 03 Mar 1979
Date of Interment: 07 Mar 1979
Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 4, Lot 4, Block 44, Section 59
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 22
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 33
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 20-W: 11
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Did Not Serve
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Roger Wilfred Van Schaik, Star #14299, aged 31 years, was a 12 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 5th District – Kensington Tactical Unit.
On December, 13 1978, Kenneth Allen, age 36, of 10200 South St. Lawrence Avenue, had been arrested and his weapons seized through search warrant. Three months later, Allen still seethed with resentment over the incident. Early in the afternoon of March 3, 1979, Allen visited a locksmith and glazier with a curious question. He wanted to know if the glass in Chicago Police cars was bulletproof. The proprietor of the shop, Stanley Evans, told him that only Chicago riot wagons had bulletproof glass.
On March 3, 1979, at 4:15 p.m., Officers Bosak and Van Schaik were working the third watch on beat 561 in plain clothes. The officers had just finished a traffic stop on west 115th and May Streets. During the traffic stop Allen parked his brown 1972 Ford LTD across the street from Officers Bosak and Van Schaik as they were conducting their traffic stop. He lay in wait as he was planning to ambush the officers. As the officers returned to their squad car with their back to him, Allen opened fire on Officer Bosak with a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, emptying the magazine. Officer Bosak was hit three times and collapsed to the ground. Allen then drew a second pistol and exited his car to engage Van Schaik, who was on the opposite side of the unmarked police car. Allen engaged him in a gun battle, the two men circling the squad car, both men exhausting their ammunition without scoring a hit. Allen then returned to his car and retrieved a .30 caliber carbine rifle. Meanwhile Officer Van Schaik was able to radio a 10-1 (Officer needs assistance) call for help from the radio in the squad car. Allen then returned and again opened fire on Van Schaik, wounding but not killing the officer. The rifle jammed after two or three shots. While Van Schaik lay wounded on the ground Allen retrieved the .38 caliber service revolver from Officer Bosak. He returned to the front of the car where the wounded Van Schaik lay and executed him with two shots to the face at point blank range.
Allen remained on the scene until two other officers arrived in response to the distress call. He initially fled in his car but quickly returned, attempting to shoot the officers as he drove past. Several more squad cars arrived in pursuit of Allen, still firing from the windows with Officer Bosak’s service revolver and a now unjammed carbine. After two collisions with squad cars and one with a CTA bus, Allen was finally stopped when Officer Lawrence Rapien intentionally steered his squad car head on into Allen’s car. Allen was taken into custody and the scene was secured. Officer Van Schaik was transported to Roseland Community Hospital by beat 2273 and was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Arya at 4:45 p.m. on March 3, 1979. Officer Bosak was also transported to Roseland Community Hospital by beat 2273 and was pronounced dead by Dr. Arya at 5:00 p.m. on March 3, 1979.
Several guns were confiscated from Allen’s car, along with about 250 rounds of ammunition, and a notebook containing the names, addresses, license plate numbers and phone numbers of several police officers and Everette Braden. Braden was the judge who had signed the search warrant authorizing Chicago Police to enter Allen’s home.
Kenneth Allen was charged with two counts of murder. He represented himself at his trial and pleaded guilty to the murders of Bosak and Van Schaik. Allen would be convicted of the murders and later sentenced to death. In court Allen stated he had killed the officers for committing “another violation of the people’s rights by police“ (i.e. the traffic stop), and because he recognized, mistakenly, Bosak from the standoff at his house on December 13, 1978. Neither officer had been present at that incident. Because of this, and because of evidence, the large amount of ammunition, the notebook, the earlier questioning of the glazier, the jury agreed that he had premeditated the killings.
Kenneth Allen remained under a sentence of death for many years before his sentence was commuted in 2003 in controversial circumstances by the embattled Governor of Illinois, George Ryan. As his last act in office, Ryan commuted the sentences of all 167 convicts on or waiting to be sent to Illinois’ Death Row to life in prison. As of 2009 Kenneth Allen remains in Menard Correctional Center.
Officer Van Schaik was waked at Sheehy Funeral Home located at 10727 South Pulaski Road, his funeral service was also held at the Sheehy Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on March 7, 1979 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 4, Lot 4, Block 44, Section 59.
Patrolman Roger Wilfred Van Schaik, born June 16, 1947, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on July 7, 1969. He earned 40 Honorable mentions During his career.
Patrolman Van Schaik was a member of the Confederation of Police, Illinois Police Association and the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Ann Marie (nee Haywood), age 28; children: Deanna Lynn Opyd, age 9, Erica, age 4 months and Mark Roger Opyd, age 11 and his brother, John (CFD).
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #A075329 Homicide, A796792 Traffic Crash and A796819 Traffic Crash.
In March 1979, Officer Van Schaik’s star was retired by Superintendent James E. O’Grady 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 Van Schaik’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.
Kenneth Allen, born October 17, 1942, is the convicted murderer of Chicago Police Officers William Bosak and Roger Van Schaik. He is currently serving life in prison without parole in Illinois.
Earlier confrontations with police:
On both December 10th and 13th, 1978, Chicago Police were contacted by Allen’s common-law wife, Bianca Smith, who complained of having “problems“ with Allen, and that he was heavily armed. Officers were both times dispatched to Allen and Smith’s residence to deal with the domestic complaints. The second time, Allen was refusing Smith entry to their shared residence, and demonstrated his willingness to continue to do so by brandishing various firearms at police from his front doorstep and telling the officers “the next fucking pig that puts his foot on my property, I’m going to blow his head off“ and “you motherfuckers are all going to pay for this.“
Eventually, after a 19 hour standoff and in front of several Chicago TV crews, Allen surrendered to the police without a shot being fired. While Allen was incarcerated pending bail for this incident, Judge Everette Braden issued a search warrant for Allen’s home. It was executed later that day, while Allen was still in jail, whereupon officers retrieved the following firearms:
- one Colt .45 semiautomatic pistol,
- one Smith & Wesson revolver, model 27,
- one Smith & Wesson revolver, model 57 (highly similar or identical to the S&W Model 29),
- one Colt .357 Python revolver,
- one.44 Ruger Super Blackhawk revolver,
- one Winslow 7mm rifle,
- one Weatherby 12-gauge shotgun,
- and over a thousand rounds of various kinds of ammunition.
Officers on the scene of the standoff claimed to have seen Allen at times bearing a gun that appeared to be an M16 rifle, however no such gun was recovered by the officers executing the search warrant. Upon returning home from jail, Allen was furious that his guns had been confiscated. He contacted lawyer Kermit Coleman to sue for their return, but was informed it was unlikely he would ever get them back from the police.