Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 2 years, 10 months, 24 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Field Services - Patrol Division: Unit 054 - Area 4 Task Force
District of Incident (Present Day): 011 - Harrison
Location of Occurrence:
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Friendly (Accidental)
Age at Time of Death: 33
Date of Birth: 24 Feb 1936
Date of Appointment: 30 May 1966
Date of Incident: 011 - Harrison
End of Watch: 24 Apr 1969
Date of Interment: 30 Apr 1969
Cemetery: Burr Oak Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 2
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 19
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 Erwin Jackson, Star #12433, aged 33 years, was a 2 year, 10 month, 24 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Field Services – Patrol Division: Unit 054 – Area 4 Task Force.
On April 24, 1969, at 11:15 p.m., Officer Jackson and his partner, Patrolman Charles Spearman were working the third watch in plain clothes. The officers responded to the Heat Wave Lounge located at 3320 West Roosevelt Road to assist Patrolmen Keating and Marchetti.
Officers Keating and Marchetti were on patrol when they were flagged down by Freddie Lee Williams who explained that his wife was in the tavern with, Bernard E. Barry, age 29, of 5546 South Shields Avenue and that Barry had a gun. Mr. Williams then asked the officers to accompany him to the tavern so he could get his wife out of there. While en route to the tavern, Officers Keating and Marchetti, saw Officers Jackson and Spearman and asked if they could back them up since they were attired in citizen’s dress. Upon arrival to the tavern It was decided that Officer Spearman would enter the tavern and watch Mr. Williams retrieve his wife and walk out. Officer Jackson would then stand guard just inside the tavern at the door while Officer Spearman confronted Barry. Officers Keating and Marchetti would remain outside. Once inside, Mr. Williams found his wife by the telephone and took her by the arm and exited the tavern. As they were walking out, Barry began to follow them. While walking behind them Barry removed a .38 caliber revolver from his pocket and placed it alongside his right leg. Officer Spearman observed this and as Barry walked by him he announced his office and attempted to disarm Barry. In response, Barry raised his gun and attempted to fire at Officer Spearman, but his gun misfired. Officer Spearman seeing that Barry was trying to shoot him fired his service revolver three times and began struggle with Barry at the same time. Mr. Williams had just stepped out of the tavern and Officer Jackson had just entered as the shots rang out. As the two struggled, one of Officer Spearman’s three shots struck Officer Jackson in the chest as he stepped inside the tavern. Both Officers’ Keating and Marchetti heard the gunshots and rushed inside. They found Officer Jackson lying face up on the floor bleeding from the chest and observed Officer Spearman still in a struggle with Barry. Officer Keating immediately went to his squad car and radioed for help for Officer Jackson while Officer Marchetti ran over to assist Officer Spearman subdue Barry. Officer Jackson was transported to Cook County Hospital by beat 1171 and was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Harris at 11:30 p.m. on April 24, 1969. Barry was transported to Cook County Hospital where he was treated and released to the custody of CPD.
Following the shooting three guns were recovered inside the tavern. The first was Barry’s revolver and the other two were recovered from behind the bar and belonged to the owner of the tavern, Richard Saunders. Saunders was subsequently arrested and charged with failure to register the firearms. A patron and witness by the name of Annie Lee Douglas, age 18, was found to be drinking in the tavern.
Bernard Barry, an ex-convict, was charged with attempted murder of a policeman and unlawful use of a weapon. On May 27, 1969, Barry was held to the Grand Jury which returned a True Bill. and indicted him for murder, attempt murder, aggravated assault and unlawful use of weapon. On June 12, 1969, A Coroner’s Jury returned a verdict for murder on Barry and recommended he be held for trial by the Criminal Court. On May 8, 1970, Barry was found not guilty of murder and attempt murder and guilty of aggravated assault and unlawful use of a weapon during a jury trial. He was sentenced to 2 to 5 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary for the aggravated assault and 5 to 8 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary for the unlawful use of a weapon, both sentences to run concurrently.
Officer Jackson was waked at Jackson Funeral Home located at 7350 South Cottage Grove Avenue. He was laid to rest on April 30, 1969 in Burr Oak Cemetery, 4400 West 127th Street, Alsip, Illinois.
Patrolman Erwin Jackson, February 24, 1936, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 30, 1966. He earned 2 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Jackson served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was Honorably Discharged. He was survived by his wife, Caroline J. ( nee Lee); children: Darrell, age 11, Kimberly, age 6 and Stephanie, age 9 and parents: Emma (nee Jenkins) and Willard.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #H136024 Crime Against Persons Case Report and H136138 Hospitalization / Homicide Case Report.