Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 2 years, 10 months, 5 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 15th District - Austin
District of Incident (Present Day): 011 - Harrison
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 40
Date of Birth: 23 Mar 1955
Date of Appointment: 17 May 1993
Date of Incident: 011 - Harrison
End of Watch: 22 Mar 1996
Date of Interment: 28 Mar 1996
Cemetery: Goshen Cemetery - Belzoni, Mississippi
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-8
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 10
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 4, Line 18
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Dell Otis Fountain, Star #18247, aged 40 years, was a 2 year, 10 month, 5 days veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 15th District – Austin.
On March 22, 1996, at 9:31 p.m., Officer Fountain’s son, Dell Woodard, age 16, tried to enter their apartment building on the 3934 West Van Buren Street. Woodard was harassed and denied entrance to the building by Tajuan Murray, age 27, a guest of the upstairs tenant. Murray was an ex-convict who was on parole while awaiting trial for murder. It was the second time Woodard had been harassed. In a previous unrelated incident, a guest of the same tenant had confronted Woodard with a rifle. During the first incident, his father notified police and the man was arrested and the rifle seized. When Woodard finally accessed his first floor apartment, he told his father about the incident that had just occurred. Officer Fountain exited his apartment with his 9mm weapon and went to confront Murray. Murray headed upstairs as Officer Fountain followed behind him. The ex-convict was aware Mr. Fountain was a Chicago Police Officer and began struggling with him in an attempt to disarm him. As Murray grabbed for the gun, it discharged and the officer was shot in the upper right leg; severing a major artery. Officer Fountain was transported to Cook County Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 10:13 p.m. on March 22, 1996.
Tajuan Murray was arrested, stood trial and was convicted of 1st degree murder. On October 6, 1998, Murray was sentenced to life in prison. Murray’s conviction was overturned in 2001 and a new trial was ordered.
Officer Fountain was waked at A. A. Rayner and Sons Funeral Home located at 5911 West Madison Street. His funeral mass was held at Salem Baptist Church of Chicago located at 11816 South Indiana Avenue. He was laid to rest on March 28, 1996 in Goshen Cemetery, Belzoni, Mississippi.
Patrolman Dell O. Fountain, born March 23, 1955, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 17, 1993.
Officer Fountain was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his girlfriend, Willie Ruth Woodard; children, Dell Otis Woodard (USMC), age 16, Isaiah Devante Woodard, age 2 and Yashanna LaGrace Woodard, age 12; parents: Adam and Lucy (nee Lewis); two brothers and five sisters.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #A192882.
On August 8, 1996, Officer Fountain’s star was retired by Superintendent Matt L. Rodriguez 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 Fountain’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.