Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 18 years, 1 month, 8 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 24th District - Rogers Park
District of Incident (Present Day): 024 - Rogers Park
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Friendly (Accidental)
Age at Time of Death: 39
Date of Birth: 20 Dec 1946
Date of Appointment: 26 Aug 1968
Date of Incident: 024 - Rogers Park
End of Watch: 04 Oct 1986
Date of Interment: 07 Oct 1986
Cemetery: Rosehill Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 9
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 42
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 9-E: 10
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Did Not Serve
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Jay F. Brunkella, Star #3429, aged 39 years, was an 18 year, 1 month, 8 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 24th District – Rogers Park Tactical Unit.
On September 22, 1986, at 2:15 p.m., Officer Brunkella and his partner, Patrolman Fred Hattenberger, were working beat 2462C in plainclothes. The officers along with beat 2462D were conducting surveillance at the Stephen F. Gale Elementary School at 1631 W. Jonquil Terrace after receiving complaints of drug sales. The officers observed Allison Jenkins, age 28, of 1626 West Juneway Terrace, make two drug deals in front of the School from a potato chip bag. Jenkins then hid the chip bag on school property. Officer Brunkella went to recover the chip bag as Officer Hattenberger approached Jenkins. Jenkins, seeing the officer approaching, fled Westbound on Jonquil Terrace on foot and after a short foot chase, approximately 40 feet, Officer Hattenberger caught up with Jenkins. Jenkins suddenly stopped and turned on Officer Hattenberger. Officer Hattenberger then cocked his revolver and approached Jenkins. During this time Officer Brunkella had been running parallel to the chase in an attempt to cut off Jenkins. Officer Hattenberger with his gun in the right hand grabbed Jenkins with his left hand. A struggle ensued and Jenkins struck Officer Hattenberger in an attempt to flee again. Jenkins became more violent in an attempt to break free at which time Officer Hattenberger grabbed Jenkins around the waist with his right hand, all the while still holding his revolver. They both fell to the ground and Officer Hattenberger’s gun discharged, the bullet striking Brunkella in the chest, passing through his left lung, as he was running up to assist. Jenkins continued to resist but was placed in custody shortly thereafter. Officer Brunkella was rushed to St. Francis Hospital in a squad car. On September 23, 1986, at 12:00 p.m., Officer Brunkella was transferred to Lutheran General Hospital for treatment in a hyperbaric chamber. Officer Brunkella sustained a single gunshot wound to the chest, the bullet of which passed through his left lung and then transected his spnal cord. He became comatose and it was learned he had lost all brain function and his life support was terminated. Officer Brunkella passed away at 7:38 p.m. on October 4, 1986. The potato chip bag was recovered and contained an amount of cannabis.
Allison Jenkins was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of a police officer, possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. Bail was set at $15,000. Jenkins was later charged with murder and on October 2, 1987 was found guilty in a jury trial. Jenkins lawyer filed a motion for a new trial based on new evidence after the first trial. It was alleged that Officer Hattenberger struck Jenkins across the back while holding his revolver causing it to go off rather than Jenkins striking Officer Hattenberger’s arm causing the revolver to go off. On November 13, 1987, Judge Joseph Urso upheld the verdict and denied Jenkins a new trial. On December 4, 1987, Jenkins was sentenced to the minimum of 20 years in prison by Judge Joseph Urso.
Officer Brunkella was waked at a Adinamis Rosehil Blake-Lamb Funeral Home located at 4700 North Western Avenue, his funeral mass was also held at Adinamis Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on October 7, 1986 in Rosehill Cemetery, 5800 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman Jay F. Brunkella, born December 20, 1946, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on August 26, 1968. He earned 2 Department Commendations, 2 Unit Meritorious Performance Awards, 22 Honorable Mentions and 5 Complimentary Letters during his career.
Officer Brunkella was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his wife, Carol (nee Smith); daughter, Tyler, age 15; mother, Shirley (nee Weaver) and a brother, Gary. He was preceded in death by his father, Clifford and sister, Hildee.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #H424285.
On October 30, 1987, Officer Brunkella’s star was retired by Superintendent Fred Rice 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 Brunkella’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.