Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 11 months, 8 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 10th District - Marquette
District of Incident (Present Day): 003 - Grand Crossing
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 30
Date of Birth: 13 Feb 1940
Date of Appointment: 27 Jun 1966
Date of Incident: 003 - Grand Crossing
End of Watch: 03 Jun 1970
Date of Interment: 08 Jun 1970
Cemetery: Lincoln Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 24
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 22
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 19-E: 2
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Melvin E. Brown, Star #12360, aged 30 years, was a 3 year, 11 month, 8 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 10th District – Marquette.
On June 2, 1970, at 11:57 p.m., Officer Brown was off duty and in the New Pioneer Lounge and Restaurant located at 1200 East 71st Street. Officer Brown was conversing with the bartender, Hershell Spencer, age 62 of 6034 South Prairie Avenue. A man entered the tavern and asked the bartender for a sandwich in which Spencer replied that the kitchen was closed. The man then asked if he could use the washroom and Spencer pointed the way. Officer Brown and Spencer continued their conversation as the man walked toward the washroom. Suddenly, without warning the man turned around with a gun in his hand and announced a holdup. The robber ordered the patrons to place their hands on the bar. Although Officer Brown was armed he chose not to use his weapon but instead attempted to disarm the gunman by attempting to flip the robber over his shoulder. But due to the height of the robber, Officer Brown was able to do so. Officer Brown then attempted to disarm the robber and was shot at point blank range ten times. The bullets striking him in the head chest both arms and back. Mortally wounded, Officer Brown was able to draw his weapon and fire three rounds before his revolver jammed. When the shooting started, Mr. Spencer jumped over the bar and ducked down. Once the shooting stopped Mr. Spencer stood up to see what happened. Seeing Mr. Spencer the lookout, standing by the tavern’s door, fired twice and struck Spencer in the right side of his chest and nose. The gunmen then fled the tavern with no proceeds. Officer Brown was transported to Jackson Park Hospital by beat 371 where he was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Bello at 12:15 a.m. on June 3, 1970. Mr. Spencer was transported to Billings Hospital by beat 322, was treated, released and made a full recovery.
The three gunmen escaped and it was believed that Officer Brown had struck one of the gunmen. Several persons of interest were interviewed, but the offenders remain unidentified. They were described as male blacks in their early 20’s.
Officer Brown was waked at A. R. Leak Funeral Home located at 7838 South Cottage Grove Avenue. He was laid to rest on June 8, 1970 in Lincoln Cemetery, 12300 South Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Melvin E. Brown, born February 13, 1940, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 27, 1966.
Officer Brown was survived by his wife, Albertyne P. (nee Smith); daughter, Lezah; mother, Velma (nee Edmonds); step-father, Robert and sister, Barbara. He was preceded in death by his father, George Melvin.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #J220600.