Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 10 years, 7 months, 13 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 6th District - Gresham
District of Incident (Present Day): 006 - Gresham
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 41
Date of Birth: 15 Feb 1942
Date of Appointment: 04 Jun 1973
Date of Incident: 006 - Gresham
End of Watch: 17 Jan 1984
Date of Interment: 21 Jan 1984
Cemetery: Cedar Park Cemetery - Calumet Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 7
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 39
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 20-W: 5
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Did Not Serve
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Fred Eckles, Jr., Star #13561, aged 41 years, was a 10 year, 7 month, 13 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 6th District – Gresham Tactical Unit.
On January 17, 1984, at 8:00 p.m., Officer Eckles, was working with his partner Sergeant Andrew Singletary on beat 663. The two officer were working with their tactical team 663. The other officer include beat 663A: patrolmen Lorenzo Davis and Karen Morrissete; beat 663B: Patrolmen Freeman J. Coastes and Brian D. Mingo and beat 663C: Patrolman Jeff D. Collier and Marshell Massey. The team was in the process of executing a search warrant for drugs on an apartment located at 8051 South Maryland Avenue. Upon entering the building Sergeant Singletary noticed a male lookout peering through the window and warned the other officers. The team approached the door and knocked announcing “Police. We Have a search Warrant.“ This was announced twice at which time there was still no response from within the first floor apartment. Sergeant Singletary then ordered the officers to make entry. A battering ram was used to gain entry and Eckles was the second officer through the door. As he entered, Neil Young, age 22, of 8051 South State Street, hiding behind a couch, and two other other men opened fire. Officer Eckles was struck three times, once in the eye, neck and abdomen. He was able to return fire twice before he collapsed to the floor. Two other officers also returned fire getting off nine shots, four of which struck Young killing him. His .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum and a packet of cocaine were recovered at the scene. In all three offenders were taken into custody. Officer Eckles was transported to South Chicago Hospital by CFD Ambulance #37 where he was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Fineberg at 9:07 p.m. on Jnauray 17, 1984.
The two other men were taken into custody and a fourth person, a female was found hiding in a closet. Neighbors reported to the investigators that the home belonged to an elderly woman was in the hospital for over a month after suffering from a stroke. She also lived there with her daughter who was not present during the incident. In the elderly women’s absence, the home was used for drug sales which led to the obtainment of the search warrant.
Officer Eckles was waked at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home located at 10456 South Western Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Christ Bible Center Church located at 134 East 111th Street. He was laid to rest on January 21, 1984 in Cedar Park Cemetery, 12540 South Halsted Street, Calumet Park, Illinois.
Patrolman Fred (NMN) Eckles, Jr., born February 15, 1942, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 4, 1973. He earned several Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Eckles was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his ex-wives: Elenor Ruth (nee White), age 39 and LaVernia Eckles Hanner (nee Hull), age 31; children: Christine Marie, age 20, Jeffrey Allen, age 8, Julius Rommel, age 16, Renee Marie, age 19, Fred III, age 20, Terry Allen, age 21 and Tommy Darrell, age 13; sister, Willa Eckles Dendy and grandchildren: Derrick, age 3 and Jeffery, age 2. He was preceded in death by his parents: Fred, Sr. and Rosa Lee (nee Ward).
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #E381758 Vehicle Theft Case Report, F020982 General Offense Case Report and F701490 Vice Case Report.
On June 14, 1984, Officer Eckles’ 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 Eckles’ Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.