Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years, 0 months, 25 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 27th District - Warren
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 32
Date of Birth: 08 Aug 1927
Date of Appointment: 01 Oct 1954
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 26 Oct 1960
Date of Interment: 31 Oct 1960
Cemetery: Lincoln Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 9
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 8
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 13-W: 5
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman William Aristotle Flowers, Sr., Star #1872, aged 32 years, was a 6 year, 0 month, 25 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 27th District – Warren.
On October 26, 1960, Officer Flowers and his partner, Patrolman Henry Pates, were working the third watch in citizen’s dress. While in the 27th District Station Mr. Henry Saunders came in and told the officers he was having trouble with a neighbor, Johnny Barker, age 33, of 53 North Washtenaw Avenue, who was having an affair with his wife. Mr. Saunders added that this adulterer had threatened him several times and that he would call the station when he knew he was at home.
At about 9:00 p.m., Officers Flowers and Pates received a call from Mr. Saunders stating that Mr. Barker was in his apartment. The officers responded to 2673 West Washington Boulevard and met Mr. Saunders. They then relocated to the building manager’s apartment in the basement of the building. The manager told the officers to be careful of Barker, as he was known to have several weapons in his apartment.
At about 9:28 p.m., the officers arrived on scene and proceeded to have Mr. Saunders point out the apartment from the alley entrance. As they reached the alley and entered, Johnny Barker walked into the alley with a .25 caliber semi-automatic Beretta pistol in his hand and immediately opened fire on both officers and Mr. Saunders. Officer Flowers was shot in the left shoulder beside 49 West Washtenaw Avenue in the alley and fell mortally wounded. He never had a chance to draw his weapon. Officer Pates returned fire and chased Barker to 51-53 North Washtenaw Avenue. They ran up the back stairs exchanging gunfire all the way to Barkers third floor apartment. Both Barker and Officer Pates emptied their pistols. Barker was shot four times in his chest and side but dragged himself into his apartment, slamming the door shut. Before breaking the door down and pursuing Barker, Officer Pates awaited backup. Additional officers arrived at the scene and they entered the apartment, breaking down the door. Barker was found lying on the floor, wounded, still grasping his gun. He was placed into custody without further incident.
Officer Flowers was transported to Illinois Research Hospital by Squadroll #246 from the 27th District where he was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Robinson. Barker was also taken to Illinois Research Hospital by Beat #272 from the 30th District where he was treated for his six gunshot wounds and confined under police guard. He recovered from his wounds and was charged with the murder of Officer Flowers.
On November 28, 1960, Flowers was held to the Coroner’s Inquest. He refused to give a statement and was held in Cook County Jail pending a Grand Jury hearing. On December 13, 1960, Flowers case was heard by a Grand Jury which returned a True Bill. On March 6, 1961, Barker was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. On May 1, 1961 he also pleaded guilty to assault to murder and was sentenced to 5 to 14 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet.
Officer Flowers was waked at McDonald Funeral Home located at 8138 South Cottage Grove Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Jubilee CME Temple located at 117 East 59th Street. He was laid to rest on October 31, 1960 in Lincoln Cemetery, 12300 South Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Patrolman William Aristotle Flowers, Sr., born August 8, 1927, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 1, 1954.
Officer Flowers served in the U.S. Army and was Honorably Discharged. He was survived by his wife, Jewel; children: Roseland, age 8, and William Aristotle, Jr., age 10; parents: Dollie D. (nee Lewis) and William and siblings: Kelly, Lavaro, Lerah and Merceded.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department Accident Report No. 745968-69, Case No. 60-2941-F, Central Complaint Room No. 141980 and Station Complaint No. 223674.
In January, 1961, Officer Flower’s star was retired by Superintendent Orlando W. Wilson and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the 4th floor Office of the Superintendent at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. The Honored Star Case was later relocated to the lobby of Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Flower’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.