Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 25 years, 10 months, 16 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 9th District - Deering
District of Incident (Present Day): 004 - South Chicago
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 54
Date of Birth: 25 Oct 1931
Date of Appointment: 19 Sep 1960
Date of Incident: 004 - South Chicago
End of Watch: 04 Aug 1986
Date of Interment: 07 Aug 1986
Cemetery: Oak Woods Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 42
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 33-E: 17
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: YES, Branch Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Sergeant Richard Davenport, Jr., Star #2280, aged 54 years, was a 25 year, 10 month, 16 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 9th District – Deering.
On August 4, 1986, at 10:30 p.m., Sergeant Davenport, while off duty, was alerted to an attempted auto theft of his son’s car by five youths and that his son was shot at by one of the five offenders. Four youths were identified by Sergeant Davenport’s son at 93rd Street and Stony Island Avenue. He identified himself as a police officer and began to question the five youths as they were lined up against a brick wall. As Davenport was searching the group for weapons, one of the youths began to fight with Sergeant Davenport’s son. As the sergeant attempted to break up the fight, Dwayne Thomas, came off the wall and pulled a gun. He fired four rounds from his .22 caliber pistol. The sergeant was shot three times and was struck in the mouth, chest and left calf. One of the other youths was struck by a stray bullet in the leg. During the melee, Sergeant Davenport’s son ran into a liquor store and called his mother as the other youth fled on foot. According to a witness, police arrived about 10 minutes later. Sergeant Davenport was transported to South Chicago Community Hospital by beat 672 where he was pronounced dead by Dr’s Okezie and Rosenthal at 11:27 p.m. on August 4, 1986. While doctors tried to save the sergeant a boy walked into the ER with a gunshot wound to his leg. Fellow officers suspected him to be one of the five youths and questioned him. The youth gave up the names of the other youths and they were all apprehended.
Dwayne Thomas was later arrested and charged as an adult with murder. On June 15, 1987, Thomas was acquitted of Davenport’s murder after claiming he thought Sergeant Davenport was a gang member intent on killing his friend. Another 18-year-old youth was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. The other three youths were released without charges.
The incident began at 10:00 p.m. when Sergeant Davenports son received a phone call from a friend who told him that several youths were tampering with his car at 90th Street and Constance Avenue. The two friends went to the car and found no one there. They got into the car and began driving around the neighborhood looking for the offenders. They found the five youths five blocks away and when the sergeant’s sons exited the car and approached the youths, one of them pulled a gun and fired a shot at him but missed. The two fled in the car and went to the sergeant’s home to tell him what had happened.
Sergeant Davenport was waked at Doty Nash Funeral Home located at 8620 South Stony Island Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Cosmopolitan Community Church located at 5249 South Wabash Avenue. He was laid to rest on August 7, 1986 in Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 East 67th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Sergeant Richard (NMN) Davenport, Jr., born October 25, 1931, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 19, 1960 and was issued Star #2455. On June 11, 1975, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and issued Star #961. On July 1, 1977, he was returned to the rank of Patrolman and reissued Star #2455. On May 1, 1984, he was once again promoted to the rank of Sergeant and issued Star #2280.
Sergeant Davenport served in the Armed Forces from 1952 thru 1954, was a veteran of the Korean War and was Honorably Discharged. He was also a member of the Police Benevolent & Protective Association. Sergeant Davenport was survived by his wife, Evelyn Raye (nee Johnson), age 45; son, Richard, III, age 18 and siblings: Artie and Raymond Spencer. He was preceded in death by his parents: Hazel (nee Strong) and Richard, Sr.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #H343675.
On September 23, 1986, Sergeant Davenport’s star was retired by Superintendent Fred Rice 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, Sergeant Davenport’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.