Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 19 years, 9 months, 16 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 6th District - Gresham
District of Incident (Present Day): 006 - Gresham
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 46
Date of Birth: 10 Oct 1946
Date of Appointment: 22 Oct 1973
Date of Incident: 006 - Gresham
End of Watch: 07 Aug 1993
Date of Interment: 10 Aug 1993
Cemetery: Mount Hope Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Cremated
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-8
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 7
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 4, Line 5
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 45-W: 19
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Gerald Leo Wright, Star #3845, aged 46 years, was a 19 year, 9 month, 16 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 6th District – Gresham.
On August 6, 1993, at 11:29 p.m., Officer Wright was off duty and had just ended his shift on the third watch. He and his partner, Patrolman James Evitt, stopped to visit John and Shaker Sweis, owners of Pat’s Food Store located at 934 West 79th Street. The officers would often frequent the store after their shift and had struck up a friendly relationship with the owners. They would also converse with the kids that hung out at the store and learn of the gang activity in the area. Officer Wright stepped out of the store and spoke to, Marlon Brown, a Four Corner Hustler and tenant residing in the apartment above the store. He told Brown that he was instrumental in controlling the gang activity on the corner and encouraged him to continue to do so. While the two were talking, Brown observed two Gangster Disciples, Steven Hass (aka Ken Jones and Kim Smith), age 18, of 8434 South Hermitage Avenue and Rafael Jackson, age 16, of 11301 South Lowe Avenue, walking Eastbound on 79th Street. As the two passed Campbell’s Hoagie Shop located at 943 1/2 West 79th Street, Brown then saw Hass pull a .22 caliber Tech 22 semi-automatic firearm from his waistband and pointed it at Officer Wright and Brown. It was at this exact time that Officer Brown turned toward the entrance of the store and suddenly became the unintended victim of gang violence. Hass fired 5 times and Officer Wright was struck by a bullet under his right arm. Brown turned and pushed open the door to the stairwell leading to his apartment and ran upstairs. Officer Brown entered the store and told Shaker Sweis that he was shot and collapsed to the floor. Once in his apartment, Brown looked out the window and observed Hass running Westbound on 79th Street toward Morgan Avenue. Officer Wright was transported to Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn by CFD Ambulance #14 where he was pronounced dead by Dr. Holevar at 3:13 a.m. on August 7, 1993.
During the investigation it was learned that Hass and Jackson were seeking retaliation for a gang shooting that had occurred the previous week in which Deonta Morgan was murdered. Hass believed that Brown, a rival gang member, had been involved in the incident. On August 7, 1993, at 7:00 a.m., Hass was arrested at his grandmother’s house located at 8434 South Hermitage Avenue. On August 9, 1993, at 3:00 a.m., Jackson was arrested at his home. In January, 1996, Steven Hass stood trial by jury and was found guilty of first degree murder. On March 7, 1996, he was sentenced to the maximum of 100 years in prison by Judge Thomas A. Hutt. Hass pleaded with the judge saying, “I was never too much taught the right way of things.” The judge also paid little attention to a character letter written on Hass’ behalf by Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Parish.
Hass will be eligible for parole in 2045. Rafael Jackson, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 55 years in prison. Jackson will be eligible for parole in 2021.
Officer Wright was waked at McGann Funeral Home located at 10727 South Pulaski Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church located at 10233 South Central Park Avenue, Evergreen Park, Illinois. He was cremated on August 10, 1993 in Mount Hope Cemetery, 11500 South Fairfield Avenue, Worth Township, Illinois.
Patrolman Gerald Leo Wright, born October 10, 1946, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 22, 1973 and was issued Star #12198. On January 24, 1976 he was issued Patrolman Star #3845 after reporting his previous star lost. He earned 1 Department Commendation and 35 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Wright served in the U.S. Army from January 16, 1963 thru January 14, 1966 and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve from January 14, 1966 thru January 1969 and was Honorably Discharged. Officer Wright was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his ex-wife, Sandra Jean Wright Russell (nee Koog), age 52; children: Jon Gerald, age 27, Rachel Elizabeth, age 16 and Sandy Ann Roach (nee Wright), age 31; parents, Dorothy and Lester J. (CPD) and siblings: Jim, Joseph, Marilou McCarthy, Michael and Paul.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #X360576.
On June 8, 1994, Officer Wright’s star was retired by Superintendent Matt L. Rodriguez and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Wright’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.