Death Classification: Performance of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 9 years, 7 months, 25 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: 4th District - South Chicago

District of Incident (Present Day): 004 - South Chicago

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Illness - Cardiac Arrest

Age at Time of Death: 38


Date of Birth: 11 Oct 1957

Date of Appointment: 11 Aug 1986

Date of Incident: 004 - South Chicago

End of Watch: 06 Apr 1996

Date of Interment: 15 Apr 1996


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
 Grave Location: Mausoleum of the Archangels, Crypt 450, Tier 2C
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-10

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 15

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Inclusion Request Declined

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: No Military Record Found


Incident & Biographic Details

Patrolman Gary M. Gradle, Star #9366, aged 38 years, was a 9 year, 7 month, 25 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 4th District – South Chicago.

On March 23, 1991, at 9:39 p.m., Officer Gradle was working the third watch, 10-99, on Beat 457 and responded to a call of a “ Man with a Gun“ at 81st Street and Houston Avenue. He entered a dark garage and was shot point-blank range in the chest just below the sternum. His bullet proof vest stopped the round from penetrating. Officer Gradle staggered from the gunshot but was able to recover and return fire. The offender then fled the scene and was able to make good his escape. Officer Gradle was transported to a South Chicago Community Hospital where he was examined and discharged within an hour of the initial shooting. As a result from the trauma of the bullet’s impact, Officer Gradle sustained a 1 1/2“ bruise to his chest, he later recovered and was returned to full duty. This incident was recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #P129793.

On April 5, 1996, at 11:00 p.m., Officer Gradle was working the third watch, 10-99, on Beat 453 when he was discovered by a citizen slumped over the wheel of his squad car #7132, while in traffic, gasping for breath at 11735 South Avenue O. The citizen ran to the nearby fire house located at 11641 South Avenue O and alerted CFD. CFD Ambulance #25 responded and found Officer Gradle inside his squad car unconscious with no pulse. They placed the officer in the ambulance and administered CPR while en route to St. Margaret Mercy Hospital in Hammond, Indiana. Officer Gradle was pronounced dead at 12:03 a.m. on April 6, 1996 from a heart attack.

Officer Gradle was waked at Thompson and Kuenster Funeral Home located at 5570 West 95th Street. His funeral mass was held at St. John Fischer Catholic Church located at 10234 South Washtenaw Avenue, was cremated on April 9, 1996 at Woodlawn Crematory located at 7750 Cermak Road, Forest Park, Illinois. He was cremated and entombed on April 15, 1996 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois. His tomb is located in Crypt 450, Tier 2C, Building –, Location Mausoleum of the Archangels.

Patrolman Gary M. Gradle, born October 11, 1957, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on August 11, 1986.

Officer Gradle was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth A.; children: Claire and Joseph; parents: George (CPD) and Marian; brother and sister.

Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #A238625.

At the time of Officer Gradle’s heart attack, the reporting officers made note in the above case report and in his Injury on Duty report, “ Several years ago, Officer Gradle suffered on-duty gunshot trauma to the chest. It is unknown if the two incidents are related.“ Paperwork for inclusion on the National Law Enforcement Officers Fund (NLEOMF) was submitted in July 2016 by the Chicago Police Department. On September 15, 2016, the NLEOMF’s pathologist requested copies of Officer Gradle’s autopsy and toxicology reports. The reports were submitted and on December 20, 2016 the Chicago Police Department received word that the NLEOMF did not approve Officer Gradle’s name for inclusion on their wall as a “ Line of Duty“ death. NLEOMF stated the circumstances of Officer Gradle’s death did not meet their criteria for inclusion because their pathologist was unable to link the gunshot wound to his cause of death.

On July 17, 2018, Officer Gradle’s star was retired by Superintendent of Police Eddie T. Johnson and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.