Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 9 years, 1 month, 4 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 29th District - West Chicago
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 41
Date of Birth: 25 Mar 1911
Date of Appointment: 20 Mar 1943
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 24 Apr 1952
Date of Interment: 28 Apr 1952
Cemetery: St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery - Niles, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot 769 S 3, Block --, Section 20
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-2
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 10
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 47
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 41-E: 17
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: YES, Branch Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman George Joseph Sperakos, Star #669, aged 41 years, was a 9 year, 1 month, 4 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 29th District – West Chicago.
On April 24, 1952, at 2:00 a.m., Officer Sperakos, while off duty, was visiting with Stanley Kozieniak and his wife, Cecilia, owners of the tavern located at 1807 West Division Street. Officer Sperakos was dressed in his uniform hat, trousers and a civilian sweater while sitting in the backroom of the tavern having coffee with Stanley. Three men entered the tavern and ordered drinks. After consuming a few drinks, without warning, the men drew guns and announced a robbery. The first robber shoved the bartender aside, firing a warning shot to discourage anyone from being a hero. The same robber then took $200.00 from the cash register. The other robber ordered Cecilia and her daughter, Dorothy, age 14, to line up against the tavern wall. When Mr. Kozieniak heard the warning shot he stepped into the doorway from the back room to see what the commotion was about. Alerting Officer Sperakos, he stepped to the door and fired three shots at the robbers. The robber who fired the warning shot turned and when he saw Sperakos in the doorway yelled to his accomplice that there is a “copper” in the back room. At that time both robbers returned fire upon Sperakos at which time he ducked behind the door to the back room for cover. Sperakos then emerged once again and returned fire, shooting three more times before he was fatally struck. Officer Sperakos was struck in the center of his forehead and collapsed to the floor. The robbers observing this then fled the tavern, taking $30.00, Southbound on Wood Street in a light colored auto and then Eastbound on Division Street. Officer Sperakos was transported to Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 10:55 a.m. on April 24, 1952.
A manhunt was initiated and fifteen squad cars spread out across the city searching for the gunmen. It was believed at the time that one of the gunmen had been wounded by Officer Sperakos. It was also believed that the gunman were the same men who robbed Mike’s Tavern at 1700 West Cermak Road earlier in the evening. Witnesses gave varying descriptions of the men as either Mexican or Italian between the ages of 25 and 30 years-of-age with medium height and dark wavy hair. The gunman have never been identified and are still at large.
Captain John Ryan of the 29th District – West Chicago located on Racine Avenue later stated that Officer Sperakos had just returned from driving his mother-in-law home when he decided to stop into the tavern to visit. Sperakos normally worked the midnight shift, but was off duty that night. He related that Sperakos was wearing his uniform because he had attended a special drill session earlier in the evening and had no time to change.
Officer Sperakos was waked at Malec Funeral Home. His funeral mass was held at Holy Innocents Church located at 743 North Armour Street. He was laid to rest on April 28 1952 in St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery, 6800 North Milwaukee Avenue, Niles, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot 769 S 3, Block –, Section 20.
Patrolman George Joseph Sperakos, born March 25, 1911, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 20, 1943.
Officer Sperakos served in the Armed Forces. He was a member of the Chicago Police Post No. 207 American Legion. Officer Sperakos was survived by his wife, Cecilia M. (nee Rozicki), age 35; daughter, Dorothy Joan, age 14 and brother, James.