Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 7 months, 2 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 3rd District - Grand Crossing
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 32
Date of Birth: 01 Feb 1937
Date of Appointment: 11 Apr 1966
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 13 Nov 1969
Date of Interment: 17 Nov 1969
Cemetery: Cedar Park Cemetery - Calumet Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 19
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 20
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 57-E: 17
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Frank Gershon Rappaport, Star #12256, aged 32 years, was a 3 year, 7 month, 2 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 3rd District – Grand Crossing.
On November 13, 1969, at 12:30 a.m., Patrolmen John Joseph Gilhooley and his partner, Patrolman Michael Brady, were working the first watch on beat 226. The two officers were assigned by the Communications Center to investigate a complaint of a man with a gun in front of an abandoned building located at 5801 South Calumet Avenue. They spoke to the complainant, Miss Wesley, inside her apartment and she stated that she observed two men enter the abandoned building directly across the street. Both officers proceeded to investigate the complaint. As the officers entered the gangway of the abandoned building located at 5809 South Calumet Avenue two men, Lance Bell, age 20, of 5809 South Indiana Avenue, member of the Black Panthers, and another unknown male, appeared and fled on foot. The officers gave chase and shouted “Police Officers, Stop!“ While in pursuit and as the officers emerged from the gangway a third man, Spurgeon J. Winters, Jr., age 19, of 5647 South Perry Avenue, member of the Black Panthers, ambushed them and fired a shotgun from a porch below. The officers returned fire but were both struck by the gunfire and collapsed to the ground. Officer Gilhooly was shot four times in the forehead, neck and chest. Meanwhile backup had arrived, Patrolmen R. Thompson and Robert Tracy, beat 270, who then called in a 10-1 “Police Officers Shot.“
Responding to the call of a 10-1 were Patrolman Ronald Comparin, 3rd District, Patrolman Daniel Coffman, 3rd District, Patrolman James Dowd, beat 322, Patrolman Donald Miley, beat 317, Patrolman Philip Prerost, 21st District, Patrolman Frank Gershon Rappaport, beat 320 and Patrolman Jack Stewart, 3rd District. Bell and Winters were observed running down Dr. Martin Luther King Drive by responding units. Officers Rappaport and Prerost gave chase on foot and at 5822 South Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Winters turned and fired his shotgun striking Officer Rappaport. He collapsed to the ground. Officer Prerost, who was running directly behind Officer Rappaport, was then struck as he attempted to take out Winters and was temporarily incapacitated. After shooting Officer Prerost, Winters then shot Officer Rappaport again in the head as he lay on the ground, delivering the fatal shot.
Officer Brady turned the corner just as Winters delivered the fatal shot to Officer Rappaport and opened fire with Officer Prerost. In the ensuing gun battle Winters was killed and Bell was injured, sustaining two gunshot wounds, one to the right arm and one to the leg. Officer Rappaport was transported to Provident Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Carroll at 3:10 a.m. on November 13, 1969. Officer Gilhooley, now paralyzed from his gunshot wounds, was transported to Billings Hospital where he underwent extensive surgery, he was pronounced dead by Dr. Washburn at 12:32 a.m. on November 14, 1969. Officer Brady sustained a laceration to the right forehead, possible graze wound. Officer Comparin sustained a gunshot to the left arm. Officer Coffman sustained gunshots to the left cheek, neck, left shoulder, right upper arm, left nipple and left palm. Officer Dowd sustained minor flesh wounds to the body. Officer Miley sustained gunshots to the right eye, chest and right arm. Officer Prerost sustained gunshots to the right forearm, hand and right foot big toe. Officer Stewart sustained a fracture of the skull. All were hospitalized and later made full recoveries.
Lance Bell was taken into custody at 5322 South Dr. Martin Luther King Drive attempting to flee the scene. He had sustained two gunshot wounds, one to the right arm and one to the leg, during the shootout. On December 19, 1969, Bell was held to the Grand Jury which returned a True Bill on 14 counts including murder, attempt murder and aggravated battery. On November 15, 1973, Bell entered a plea of guilty to two counts of attempted murder and was sentenced to 6 to 20 years in prison by Judge Richard J. Fitzgerald. Bell also pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and was sentenced to 3 to 9 years. Both sentences were to be served concurrently. Bell would be eligible for parole in 4 years and 9 months. It was believed that Winters was the gunman who killed both officers.
Officer Rappaport was waked at Piser Memorial Chapel located at 6935 South Stoney Island Avenue. He was laid to rest on November 17, 1969 in Cedar Park Cemetery, 12540 South Halsted Street, Calumet Park, Illinois.
Patrolman Frank Gershon Rappaport, born February 1, 1937, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 11, 1966. He earned 3 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Rappaport served in the U.S. Army from June 4, 1954 thru May 23, 1957 and was Honorably Discharged. He was survived by his wife, Constance (nee Fekek; children: Michael Abraham, age 8, Patricia Ruth, age 3 and Susan Louise, age 1; parents: Abraham and Mildred (nee Rosenberg) and siblings: Herbert, Isdor and Nate.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #H445751.
The Black Panthers are a racist, radical group that professed the murders of law enforcement officers. Members and former members of the group were responsible for the murders of at least 15 law enforcement officers and the wounding of dozens more across the nation.