Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 27 years, 2 months, 19 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 19th District - Belmont
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 60
Date of Birth: 13 May 1948
Date of Appointment: 13 Apr 1981
Date of Incident: 019 - Town Hall
End of Watch: 02 Jul 2008
Date of Interment: 07 Jul 2008
Cemetery: Unknown Cemetery
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Cremated
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-9
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 19
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 5, Line 12
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 17-E: 26
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Navy
Incident & Biographic Details
Police Officer Richard M. Francis, Star #5276, aged 60 years, was a 27 year, 2 month, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 19th District – Belmont.
On July 2, 2008, at 1:53 a.m., Officer Francis was on patrol alone when he responded to a disturbance occurring on a CTA bus near the intersection of Belmont and Western Avenues. A CTA bus passenger contacted police for help after a woman began to harass and scream at her. Officer Francis heard the radio call and told dispatch he would handle the incident alone. The officer drove to the CTA bus stop, a half block away from his Belmont District, believing the incident would be nothing more than a routine disturbance call. When he arrived he observed the aggressive passenger, Robin Johnson, who was a woman familiar to him and other Belmont District Officers. She frequently dealt with officers in the Belmont District and had a history of mental illness. As Francis escorted her off the bus the suspect was able to disarm Officer Francis’ and shot him. Officer Francis fell to ground and laid motionless as Johnson shot him two more times. Francis lay wound shot in the head, leg, and hip. Johnson then shot at responding officers who returned fire. Johnson was transported to a local hospital where she made a full recovery. Officer Francis died of his injuries at the scene. Officer Francis was transported to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center by CFD Ambulance #6 where he was pronounced dead by Dr. Mellett at 2:57 a.m. on July 2, 2008.
On February 5, 2014, Robin Johnson was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.
Officer Francis was waked at Cooney Funeral Home located at 3918 West Irving Park Road. His funeral mass was held at St. Monica’s Roman Catholic Church located at 5136 North Nottingham Avenue. He was cremated on July 7, 2008.
Police Officer Richard M. Francis, born May 13, 1948, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 13, 1981. He earned 1 Department Commendation, 35 Honorable Mentions and several Complimentary Letters during his career. He worked in the 12th, 18th, 19th Districts and the Area 3 Detective Division.
Officer Francis served in the U.S. Navy, was a veteran of the Vietnam War and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. Officer Francis was survived by his wife, Deborah Ann (nee Kulikowski) and step-daughters: Amanda Candace Kmic, age 29 and Bianca Starr Kmic, age 26.
On September 30, 2008, Officer Francis’ star was retired by Superintendent Jody P. Weis and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #HP428308.
In September, 2009, the 1500 block of West Leland Avenue was dedicated as “Honorary Richard M. Francis Way.” The honorary street sign was placed on the Northeast corner of Leland and Ashland Avenues in the heart of the Uptown community. The sign is at the same intersection as Our Lady of Lourdes Parish where Officer Francis attended grade school.