Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 16 years, 2 months, 5 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: 43
Date of Birth: 07 Dec 1944
Date of Appointment: 25 Oct 1971
Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall
End of Watch: 30 Dec 1987
Date of Interment: 04 Jan 1988
Cemetery: Montrose Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Cremated
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 7
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 43
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 11-W: 15
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Did Not Serve
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrol Specialist Lee Richard Seward, Sr., Star #15906, aged 43 years, was a 16 year, 2 month, 5 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 23rd District – Town Hall.
On December 30, 1987, at 9:48 p.m., Officer Seward and his partner, Patrolman Patricia Cosgrove, responded to a call of a noise disturbance for the second time. They arrived at an apartment building located at 4126 1/2 North Sheridan Road. Earlier in the day, the partners had visited the apartment after a tenant called police to report a neighbor banging on her door. During the first response the man was told if the officers had to come back he was going to jail. When the officers arrived to the scene for the second time, they met the offender, John Rogers, age 24, on a second floor landing. The conversation moved into Rogers apartment where the officers attempted to place him in custody.
Rogers became uncooperative and resisted arrest. While Officer Cosgrove radioed for backup Rogers scuffled with Officer Seward as he attempted to put handcuffs on him. Officer Seward was able to handcuff Rogers, but he continued to resist and the struggle moved into the bedroom. Once inside the bedroom, Rogers was able to get out of his cuffs and then grabbed one of Officer Seward’s wrists. Rogers then used his other hand to remove the officer’s .357 caliber magnum revolver from his holster, which was broken. Officer Seward backed away and up against a bedroom wall and Rogers fired once at the officer striking him in the mouth. Officer Seward fell to the floor and attempted to crawl out of the room when Rogers turned off the lights. Meanwhile Officer Cosgrove was in the hallway with her revolver drawn, but didn’t take a shot as she had no clear line of sight. As Officer Seward was crawling out, Officer Cosgrove grabbed hold of him and pulled him to the shelter of a hallway. As she pulled Officer Seward out, Rogers fired again and struck Seward in the leg.
As this was happening backup officers, Patrolman Kenneth Keeley and his partner, were arriving and heard the gunfire erupt as they raced up the stairs. As the backup officers attempted to enter the apartment, Rogers appeared in the bedroom doorway and fired at them emptying the revolver. Using ambient light from other rooms, Officer Keeley was able to get a sight on Rogers and opened fire, firing off four shots. Rogers was struck three times, once in the chest. Rogers died at the scene from his wounds. Officer Seward was transported to Weiss Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead by Dr. Bufftner at 10:44 p.m. on December 30, 1987.
Officer Seward was waked at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home located at 6150 North Cicero Avenue, his funeral services were also held at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home located at 6150 North Cicero Avenue. He was cremated on January 4, 1988 at Montrose Cemetery, 5400 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrol Specialist Lee Richard Seward, Sr., born December 7, 1944, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 25, 1971. He earned 1 Department Commendation and 22 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Seward was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his wife, Michaelene (nee Luchaco); son, Lee Richard, Jr., age 21 and siblings: Bruce, Dennis and Toots. He was preceded in death by his parents: Gilbert Morse and Lillian Margarett (nee Delinger) and sister, Gilberta May.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #J554579.
On January 27, 1988, Officer Seward’s star was retired by Superintendent LeRoy Martin 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 Seward’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.