Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 4 years, 11 months, 24 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Operational Services - Patrol Division: Unit 056 - Area 6 Special Operations Group
District of Incident (Present Day): 020 - Lincoln
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 28
Date of Birth: 27 Jul 1945
Date of Appointment: 03 Mar 1969
Date of Incident: 27 Feb 1974
End of Watch: 27 Feb 1974
Date of Interment: 04 Mar 1974
Cemetery: Maryhill Catholic Cemetery - Niles, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot 24, Block 13, Section 21
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-6
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 24
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 27
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 61-E: 21
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Marine Corps
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman William Charles Marsek, Star #14086, aged 28 years, was a 4 year, 11 month, 24 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Operational Services – Patrol Division: Unit 056 – Area 6 Special Operations Group.
On February 27, 1974, at 8:15 p.m., Patrolmen Bruce Norman Garrison and William Charles Marsek were working the third watch on beat 6653. They were participating in a manhunt for Jacob Paul Cohen, alias Paul Robson, age 30, of 5317 North Wayne, who was wanted for an earlier escape after he was arrested for murder. They observed Cohen emerge from Raven’s Pub located at 1818 West Foster Avenue. Cohen walked to his car and then after seeing the officers reentered the tavern. As Officers Garrison and Marsek investigated, they noticed a sawed-off shotgun near the man’s car. When the officers entered the tavern looking for Cohen they could not see him because of the poor lighting. As the officers moved further inside, the located Cohen and a struggle ensued. Shots were fired by Cohen. A 10-1 was called and units responded from the 20th District. Officers Garrison and Marsek were both shot in the head and Officer Marsek was also shot in the shoulder and abdomen. Cohen fled out the front door of the tavern and a manhunt ensued. Information was received that Cohen fled in a “beat up“ 1964 Rambler, but it was not certain whether he fled in a car or on foot. Police were seen searching the bushes with flashlights in the 5100 block of North Leavitt Avenue and in Winnemac Park. The gunman made good his escape. Officer Garrison’s .38 caliber revolver was missing and it was believed that Cohen had gained control of the revolver during the struggle and shot both officers with it. Officers Garrison was transported to Ravenswood Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:20 p.m. on February 27, 1974. Officer Marsek was transported to Edgewater Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:20 p.m. on February 27, 1974.
Jacob Cohen fled to Wisconsin and had told a close female friend his new address and alias he was using to hide out. That friend quickly passed the information on to another male friend and unwittingly betrayed Cohen’s trust. Unbeknownst to the female, the male friend was a close friend with Sergeant Thomas Kelly of the Robbery Unit. Sergeant Kelly then relayed the information to Sergeant Rocco Rinaldi of the Homicide Unit. On March 4, 1974, Sergeant Rinaldi alerted the FBI in Milwaukee. Surveillance was set up on Cohen while the two sergeants sped up to Milwaukee to make the arrest. However, Cohen detected the FBI surveillance and shot his way out of the building wounding Agent Richard Carr. Cohen took refuge in a nearby house and took four children hostage and used one as a shield from bullets while demanding a getaway car. When the child broke free Milwaukee Police and Federal Agents opened fire and Cohen was killed in a hail of gunfire. Cohen sustained 16 gunshot wounds.
Officer Marsek was waked at Liddy Brothers Chapel located at 4920 – 4924 West Irving Park Road. His funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Victory Church located at 5212 West Agatite Avenue. He was laid to rest on March 4, 1974 in Maryhill Catholic Cemetery, 8600 North Milwaukee Avenue, Niles, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot 24, Block 13, Section 21.
Patrolman William Charles Marsek, born July 27, 1945, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 3, 1969. He earned 8 commendations during his career.
Officer Marsek served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was Honorably Discharged. He was a member of the Confederation of Police and the St. Jude Police League. Officer Marsek was survived by his mother: Ellen T. Vachula (nee Patteon) and brother, Charles W. Marsh. He was preceded in death by his father, Charles.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #P083417.
On May 21, 1998, Officer Marsek’s star was retired by Superintendent Terry G. Hillard 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 Marsek’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.