Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 2 years, 3 months, 1 day

Unit of Assignment / Detail: 13th District - Wood

District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy

Age at Time of Death: 32


Date of Birth: 22 Sep 1943

Date of Appointment: 19 Feb 1973

Date of Incident: 012 - Near West

End of Watch: 20 May 1975

Date of Interment: 23 May 1975


Interment Details

 Cemetery: St. Joseph Cemetery - River Grove, Illinois
 Grave Location: Resurrection Mausoleum, Crypt 335, Tier A
 Interment Disposition: Cremated


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-6

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 11

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 30

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 56-E: 6

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: U.S. Army


Incident & Biographic Details

Patrolman Joseph Peter Cali, Star #3271, aged 31 years, was a 2 year, 3 month, 1 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 13th District – Wood.

On May 19, 1975, at 9:15 p.m., Officer Cali was working special employment on his day off. He was partnered with Patrolman James Kehoe and they were working the 3rd watch on beat 1318. At 2103 West Lake Street the officers observed 1966 Chevrolet for being illegally parked at a bus stop. Officer Cali pulled alongside the Chevrolet and exited the squad car to write a parking ticket while his partner remained in the car. Officer Cali, while standing on the sidewalk beside the car, was in the process of writing the citation when he was suddenly hit above his left ear by a bullet. The bullet passed through his brain and lodged in the left temple. he collapsed and fell face down on the sidewalk. Officer Cali had been shot by a sniper, from a window on the third floor, at the Henry Horner Homes located at 2105 West Lake Street, a public housing project. Officer Kehoe heard the shot turned to the right and did not see his partner anymore. He then exited the squad car to investigate and discovered Officer Cali lying face down on the ground with blood pouring from his head. Officer Kehoe immediately called in a 10-1, calling for an ambulance and backup, and took cover. Responding officers, beat 1325, placed Officer Cali in their backseat and rushed him to Cook County Hospital. During treatment, doctors had trouble deciding whether to remove the bullet from Officer Cali’s skull or wait until his vital signs had stabilized. Officer Cali never regained consciousness and expired from his wound at 8:20 a.m. on May 20, 1975.

Meanwhile a door to door search of the complex was conducted for the sniper. A fire department helicopter searched from the air while another fire department illumination truck flooded the area with light. Other policemen aided by canine units were searching for four men seen fleeing the area. The increased police presence set off a demonstration in which bystanders threw bricks and bottles at police. Lester McCaulley, age 20, was arrested after he tried to kick a police dog. He was charged with disorderly conduct, interfering with police and mistreatment of a police dog.

On May 21, 1975, James Earl Clark, age 17, of 2051 West lake Street, was arrested after two witnesses stepped forward and after ballistics tests proved that the rifle he owned was the one used in the shooting. Police recovered the broken down rifle hidden inside Clark’s apartment hidden in the couch. An expended shell casing was also recovered from the apartment across the hall from Clark’s. It was in that apartment Clark fired the fatal shot. During interrogation Clark related that he had been in an argument with another neighborhood boy earlier in the evening and was waiting for the boy to make another pass on his bicycle. Before the boy made another pass the officers arrived and began to write the citation. The killer then told his cousins he was going to shoot an officer and fired the round which struck Officer Cali.

James Clark was charged with Murder and held to the Grand Jury. On June 4, 1975, the Grand Jury returned a true bill. During trial Clark plead guilty to Officer Cali’s murder and was subsequently sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison. He was paroled in 1986 after serving less than half of his sentence.

Officer Cali was waked at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home located at 6150 North Cicero Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Juliana’s Church located at 7200 North Osceola Avenue. He was cremated and entombed on May 23, 1975 in St. Joseph Cemetery, 3100 North Thatcher Avenue, River Grove, Illinois. His tomb is located in Crypt 335, Tier A Crypt 335, Tier A, Building –, Location Resurrection Mausoleum.

Patrolman Joseph Peter Cali, born September 25, 1943, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on February 19, 1973. He earned 5 Honorable Mentions and 2 Complimentary Letters during his career.

Officer Joseph Cali served in the U.S. Army, was a veteran of the Vietnam War and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Sergeant. He was also a member of the Confederation of Police and the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Neva (nee Moore); daughters: Carolyn Suzanne, age 2 and Jennifer Lynn, age 4; parents: Charles and Josephine (nee Catanzaro) and siblings: Maryann and Phil.

Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #T189906.

On November 14, 2015, the 6400 block of North Oxford Avenue was dedicated as “Honorary Patrolman Joseph P. Cali Way.” One brown honorary sign was erected. The sign was located on the Northeast corner of Devon and Oxford Avenues in heart of the Edison Park community where Officer Cali lived.

On July 7, 2016, in memory of Officer Cali Bill H.R. 5676, was proposed in the United States House of Representatives to designate the facility of the United States Postal service located at 6300 North Northwest Highway, as the “Officer Joseph P. Cali Post Office Building.“ The house voted in the affirmative to suspend the rules and the bill was passed. It was ordered, that the Clerk request the concurrence of the Senate in said bill. The senate brought the bill to a vote and the bill was approved on December 10, 2016. On April 23, 2017, a dedication ceremony was held at the building.