Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 4 years, 9 months, 9 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 21st District - Prairie
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 34
Date of Birth: 12 Mar 1964
Date of Appointment: 31 May 1994
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 09 Mar 1999
Date of Interment: 16 Mar 1999
Cemetery: Oak Woods Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-8
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 13
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 4, Line 27
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2-W: 22
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Marine Corps
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman James Henry Camp, Jr., Star #3934, aged 34 years, was a 4 year, 9 month, 9 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 21st District – Prairie Gang Team.
On March 9, 1999, at 2:02 p.m., Officer Camp and his partner, Patrolman Kenny King were working in plain clothes. As they exited the Madden Park Homes public housing complex located on the 3800 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue they observed two people sitting in a vehicle. The car, a dark colored Chevy Caprice with Indiana license plates, looked suspicious to the officers. The officers approached the vehicle, Officer Camp the driver’s side door and Officer King the passenger side door. Upon stepping up to the vehicle they noticed the steering column had been tampered with. Officer Camp ordered the driver, Kevin Dean, age 42, of the 5500 block of South Michigan Avenue and an ex-convict, out of the vehicle. Dean refused to comply with the order at which time Officer Camp opened the door of the car and attempted to physically remove him. A struggle ensued and Dean gained control of Officer Camp’s firearm and pulled the trigger. Officer Camp was struck in the head and collapsed to the ground. As Officer King attempted to come to his partner’s aid, Dean and the passenger, Yvonne Harris, age 38, fled the scene on foot. Responding officers encountered Dean running from the scene with a gun in his hand and used the officer’s gun to fire at the squad car. Patrolman Earl Carter returned fire, striking Dean five times and wounding him. Dean attempted to make good his escape was thwarted, however Harris was able to make good her escape. Dean was taken into custody without further incident and later made a full recovery from his gunshot wounds. Officer Camp was transported to Cook County Hospital by CFD Ambulance #57 where he was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. on March 9, 1999.
Yvonne Harris later turned herself in and was questioned about her cousin, Dean. Kevin Dean was charged with murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery of an officer, disarming a police officer and possession of stolen auto. He stood trial and was acquitted of the murder and of the attempted murder charges. However, Dean was convicted of disarming Officer Camp and for the possession of a stolen auto. The judge sentenced Dean to the maximum of two consecutive 30-year prison terms. He appealed the sentence and was re-sentenced to only 28 years in prison.
Officer Camp was waked at Cage Funeral Home located at 7651 South Jeffrey Boulevard. His funeral mass was held at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church located at 2132 East 72nd Street. He was laid to rest on March 16, 1999 in Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 East 67th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman James Henry Camp, Jr., born March 12, 1964, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 31, 1994 and was in Recruit Class 94-3C at the Jackson Street Police Academy. He earned 1 Department Commendation, 23 Honorable Mentions and 1 Complimentary Letter during his career.
Officer Camp served in the U.S. Marine Corps from March 1987 to February 25, 1995 and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his wife, Opal Tracee (nee Fryson), age 34; step-father, Meredith Palmer; siblings: John Major, Mary Galloway, Rodney Davis Major and Tony Major and step-sister: Meredith Palmer. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #D137935.
On August 12, 1999, Officer Camp’s star was retired by Superintendent Terry G. Hillard 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 Camp’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby. Patrolman James H. Camp’s star was the last star to be enshrined in the Chicago Police Headquarters building located at 1121 South State Street.