Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 42 years, 5 months, 27 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Field Services - Patrol Division: Unit 054 - Area 4 Task Force
District of Incident (Present Day): 011 - Harrison
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 73
Date of Birth: 30 Jan 1928
Date of Appointment: 01 Mar 1959
Date of Incident: 011 - Harrison
End of Watch: 28 Aug 2001
Date of Interment: 31 Aug 2001
Cemetery: Resurrection Catholic Cemetery - Justice, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 25
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Not Listed
Officer Down Memorial Page: Not Listed
Military Service: Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Edward Laddie Simanek, Sr., Star #10896, aged 73 years, was a 42 year, 5 month, 27 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Field Services – Patrol Division: Unit 054 – Area 4 Task Force.
On June 4, 1968, Officers Simanek and Ronald Stankowicz #7131 were working a mission in the 11th District. The officers stopped an auto for a minor traffic violation at Harrison Street and Homan Avenue. The driver of the auto, Haywood St. Claire, exited and walked towards Officer Stankowicz showing him his Illinois drivers’ license. Officer Simanek exited the squad car and began to approach the passenger side of the stopped auto. The vehicle they stopped was a jitney cab and unbeknownst to the officers a second man, who was wanted for an armed robbery, was hiding on the floor in the back of the car. The passenger, Robert Pryor, without warning abruptly emerged from the vehicle with a handgun and began firing. Officer Simanek was struck in the face and right buttock as the St. Claire made his escape. Pryor then began firing his handgun at Officer Stankowicz who returned fire as Pryor fled on foot through a gangway. Officer Stankowicz ran back to his squad car, radioed for help and notified dispatch that his partner was shot. He then went to the trunk of the squad car and retrieved their department issued shotgun and gave chase after Pryor. Officer Stankowicz entered the gangway at 3350 West Fillmore Street and Pryor pointed his handgun at the officer. Fearing for his life, Officer Stankowicz fired the shotgun once, striking Pryor. Pryor fell to the ground and was subsequently placed under arrest.
An ambulance responded to the scene and transported Officer Simanek to Illinois Research Hospital in critical condition. The emergency room staff used all of their talents and resources available at that time to stabilize the wounded officer. The bullet that struck Officer Simanek in the face entered below his nose and ricocheted around the inside of his throat before exiting out the back of his neck. It had severed an artery, sheared his jugular vein and damaged several nerves. As a direct result of the injuries sustained, Officer Simanek’s vocal cords were damaged and he was paralyzed on the left side of his body. His throat was also partially paralyzed and he was unable to consume liquids and solids in an upright position.
In police custody, Pryor was transported to Cook County Hospital where he was treated for his shotgun wound. Pryor survived and was subsequently charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery of two Chicago Police Officers. Further investigation revealed that several days earlier, on May 27, 1968, Pryor was in the area of 350 East 43rd Street in the 2nd District at 4:30 a.m. Officers Robert White and Zenon Pet observed him acting suspiciously. The officers pulled their squad over and called Pryor to the car. When he approached, Pryor displayed a handgun, placed it to the head of Officer White and demanded that both officers place their handguns on the seat of their vehicle. Pryor took both guns and ordered the officers to drive away. He waited until the squad had driven away before fleeing on foot with the two officer’s duty weapons. The handgun, which was used to shoot Officer Simanek, was one of those stolen duty weapons.
Robert Pryor later stood trial and was found guilty of the attempted murder and aggravated battery of Officer Simanek and was sentenced to 75 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was released from prison in April 1992 after serving only half of his original sentence.
After spending five months in the hospital he was discharged. He continued his recovery at home and following a lengthy recovery going in and out of the hospital for five years Officer Simanek returned to active duty. He was assigned to the newly formed Gang Crimes West Section at Harrison and Kedzie and held an administrative position until he was officially retired on August 28, 2001 due to his death. Officer Simanek passed away on August 28, 2001 from complications resulting from his line of duty injury.
Officer Simanek was waked at Zarzycki Manor Chapels located at 5088 South Archer Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Bruno Catholic Church located at 4751 South Harding Avenue. He was laid to rest on August 31, 2001 in Resurrection Cemetery, 7201 Archer Road, Justice, Illinois.
Patrolman Edward Laddie Simanek, Sr., born on January 30, 1928, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 1, 1959. He earned 1 Blue Star Award, 5 Honorable Mentions and 1 Complimentary Letter during his career.
Officer Simanek was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the St. Jude Police League. He was survived by his wife, Dolores (nee Stec); children, Edward L., Jr. and Karen Simanek Mercado (CPD), son-in-law, Alan Mercado (CPD): grandchildren: Edward L. Simanek III, Erik Simanek, Joseph Edward Mercado and Richard Alan Mercado and sister, Patricia Zib (CPD). He was preceded in death by his sister, Ryan.