Friday evening, July 17, 1970. Watching television with several other fellow students. A bulletin comes on concerning two Chicago Police officers gunned down by a sniper at a housing project. Live on-scene coverage. I’m called to the Captain’s office. Your uncle was killed in Chicago. You will fly home tomorrow. When you return, you will pick up with the next class. My Uncle Jim…I had just received a long letter from him. He was a Chicago Police Sergeant working the so called “walk-n-talk” program in the notorious Cabrini-Green public housing complex. He and his partner, Patrolman Anthony Rizzato were shot down, seconds apart, by a .30 cal rifle. Died on the Seward Park baseball field where they fell, probably dead within a minute. Two officers trying to make a positive difference in the lives of people who were faced with only negatives in their lives. Cabrini-Green, Division Street west of Orleans, several blocks west of the famed Michigan Avenue commercial district. I always told people, “Never, ever, walk west from Michigan Avenue…no man’s land.
Those god-forsaken high-rise buildings are all gone, torn down several years ago.
The grief, the sorrow, for this young Sergeant and his partner was staggering. The wake, the miles long funeral procession, the mourners. I saw the entire City of Chicago and suburbs in disbelief. I know my father went to every hearing, every day of the trial. And to this day, family members and a phalanx of Chicago Police show up at the parole hearings for the remaining two killers; the third died in the penitentiary several years ago. The next parole hearing is on June 21st.
Back to Lowry to finish Intelligence school with deployment to Vietnam looming in the near future.