Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 8 years, 4 months, 28 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Inspectional Services - Intelligence Division: Unit 135 - Gang Intelligence Section
District of Incident (Present Day): 003 - Grand Crossing
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 30
Date of Birth: 29 Jun 1940
Date of Appointment: 19 Feb 1962
Date of Incident: 003 - Grand Crossing
End of Watch: 16 Aug 1970
Date of Interment: 20 Aug 1970
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 1108, Block --, Section AM
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 22
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 10-W: 16
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Marine Corps
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman James A. Alfano, Jr., Star #4707, aged 30 years, was an 8 year, 4 month, 28 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Inspectional Services – Intelligence Division: Unit 135 – Gang Intelligence Section.
On August 13, 1970, at 11:30 p.m., Officer James Alfano, Jr., was on duty sitting in the rear seat of unmarked squad car #3472 with his partners, Patrolmen Richard Crowley, the driver and Thomas Donahue, front passenger. The officers were driving in the area of 67th Street and Blackstone Avenue when they noticed the lights were out and the streets were dark. As they drove North through an alley behind the Southmoor Hotel located at 6646 South Stony Island Avenue. The hotel was the former Black P Stone Nation Headquarters until July, 1970. The officers encountered a blockade in the middle of the alley, a large pile of trash. Officer Crowley reversed the vehicle and then turned left into an alley between 66th Place and 67th Street and proceeded West crossing Blackstone Avenue. In the middle of the alley at approximately 1501 East they encountered a second blockade, a couch. As Officer Crowley tried to push the couch aside with the car, six to eight shots rang out. A bullet pierced the lower right rear of the trunk striking Officer Alfano on his left lower back, passing through his liver and exiting through the abdomen. He was rushed to Billings Hospital where he underwent numerous surgeries. Over 250 people donated blood in search of Alfano’s rare blood type of AB-positive. Officer Alfano survived for over 70 hours, succumbing to his injuries at 10:05 p.m. on August 16, 1970.
In the aftermath 23 people were arrested. In particular, Seven Black P Stone members were arrested in connection to Officer Alfano’s murder and charged with conspiracy to commit murder: Lamar Bell, age 26; Charles Bey, age 24; Tony Carter; age 17; Dennis Griffin, age 21; Lee Jackson, age 26; William Troope, age 22 and Eton Wicks, age 22. During the trial, Black P Stone gang member, Caesar Marsh testified that on the day of Officer Alfano’s murder, two gang meetings were held. During the meetings, Edward Bell, number three in command, gave orders to break street lights and set up blockades in order to ambush gang intelligence officers. Marsh heard Bey, number two in command, tell Tony Carter to put two snipers on the ground and one on the hotel’s roof. According to Marsh, he saw Carter tampering with two electrical control boxes. Coincidentally, four juveniles arrested for breaking lights told officers that the gang had ordered the area be darkened. Another witness, Ernest Williams, age 18, testified that an hour prior to the shooting he saw Bey, Carter and Jackson pushing the couch in the alley while Troope watched and held a rifle in his hand. On January 17, 1971, the seven defendants were acquitted and what followed was months of sniper shootings directed at Chicago Police Officers. In March, 1971, Caesar Marsh, the witness, was murdered.
Officer Alfano was waked at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home located at 4727 West 103rd Street, Oak Lawn, Illinois. His funeral mass was held at St. Gerald Church located at 9310 South 55th Court, Oak Lawn, Illinois. He was laid to rest on August 20, 1970 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, 3801 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot 1108, Block –, Section AM.
Patrolman James A. Alfano, Jr., born June 29, 1940, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on February 19, 1962. He earned 28 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Alfano served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, was a veteran of the Vietnam War and was Honorably Discharged. He was a member of the Chicago Patrolmen’s Association, Confederation of Police, Italian American Police Association and the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Judith (nee Wise); children: Jackie, Johnny and Lynne; parents: Angeline (nee Musteri) and James A., Sr. and sister, Grace.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #J344123.