Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 12 years, 0 months, 3 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Operational Services - Traffic Division (TD): Unit 086 - Traffic Area 6 Group
District of Incident (Present Day): 018 - Near North
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 36
Date of Birth: 17 Nov 1936
Date of Appointment: 16 Jan 1961
Date of Incident: 018 - Near North
End of Watch: 19 Jan 1973
Date of Interment: 22 Jan 1973
Cemetery: Acacia Park Cemetery - Norridge, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 23
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 26
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 6-E: 5
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Robert Fredrick Wenzel, Star #7495, aged 36 years, was a 12 year, 0 month, 3 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Operational Services – Traffic Division (TD): Unit 086 – Traffic Area 6 Group.
On January 19, 1973, at 5:23 a.m., Officer Wenzel was working the first watch on beat 9652. While on patrol he was conducting a traffic stop at 1903 North Lake Shore Drive. At some point during the traffic stop, the motorist, Richard Luckey, age 44, drew a revolver and fired two shots. Officer Wenzel, though wounded, was able to return fire, shooting six times and striking Luckey multiple times. Officer Wenzel was struck four times, twice in the chin, once in the neck and once in the back. He was transported to Augustina Hospital by beat 1972 and was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Fetter at 5:40 a.m. on January 19, 1973. Luckey was found by responding officers near the scene, not far from Officer Wenzel’s squad car. He was transported to Wesley memorial Hospital by CFD Ambulance #11 and was placed in secure custody. It was also believed that there was a second offender by the name of Joseph Lee Bolden or Bolton who fled in the car after the shooting.
Richard Luckey was charged with murder. During questioning he told police that he and Bolden were looking for a place to rob after leaving a tavern when they ran into Officer Wenzel. Luckey stood trial and was found guilty of Officer Wenzel’s murder. He was sentenced to 75 to 150 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet. On June 26, 2011, Richard Luckey died in the Stateville Correctional Facility prison. Bolden remains at large and was never found.
Officer Wenzel was waked at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home located at 6150 North Cicero Avenue, his funeral mass was also held at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on January 22, 1973 in Acacia Park Cemetery, 7800 West Irving Park Road, Norridge, Illinois.
Patrolman Robert Fredrick Wenzel, born November 17, 1936, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on January 16, 1961. He earned 1 Honorable Mention and 11 Letters of Commendation during his career.
Officer Wenzel served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve from 1953 thru 1962 and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of the Bomerwald Lodge, Confederation of Police, Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Police Association and the St. Jude Police League. Officer Wenzel was survived by his wife, Rose (nee LaCavera); children: Colleen, age 14, Daniel Peloza, Michael, age 16 and Robert Peloza; father, John and brother, John. He was preceded in death by his mother Elizabeth (nee Freund).
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #N023503.