Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 16 years, 2 months, 6 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Inspectional Services - Intelligence Division: Unit 135 - Criminal Intelligence Unit
District of Incident (Present Day): Lincolnwood, IL
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 42
Date of Birth: 16 Mar 1927
Date of Appointment: 21 Sep 1953
Date of Incident: 24 Jan 1969
End of Watch: 27 Nov 1969
Date of Interment: 30 Nov 1969
Cemetery: Oakridge Cemetery - Hillside, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 8
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 20
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 27-E: 15
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Navy
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Oliver Jerome Singleton, III, Star #2131, aged 42 years, was a 16 year, 2 month, 6 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Inspectional Services – Intelligence Division: Unit 135 – Criminal Intelligence Unit.
On January 24, 1969, at 7:15 p.m., Detective Singleton and his partner, Detective Frank Edwards, were conducting surveillance on the Bell and Howell Company located at 7100 North McCormick Boulevard, building #9. They were also in the company of 16 other officers from the Lincolnwood and Chicago Police Departments. The officers had received a tip that a Thillens, Inc. armored truck robbery would occur between 5:50 p.m. and 6:10 p.m. at that location. Detective Singleton was one of 18 policemen assigned to watch the plant.
The gang of four offenders arrived to the location at 6:00 p.m. and waited in their vehicle for the truck to arrive. By 7:15 p.m., the truck had not arrived and the men attempted to leave. Officers then blocked their vehicle in the driveway with their squad cars in front of building #1. One of the men, James Allen, age 19, exited the getaway car and began firing at officers. Officers exchanged gunfire injuring Allen and fatally wounding his two accomplices, Larry Gibson, age 23 and Tyrone L. Oby, age 27. A fourth accomplice, Nathan Wright, age 35, was waiting nearby in a getaway car. He was later apprehended at his home at 5426 South Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Detective Singleton sustained a single, through and through, gunshot entering the left upper shoulder and exiting through the base of the neck. He was transported by Lincolnwood Fire Department Ambulance to St. Francis Hospital. As a result of the shooting, the Detective Singleton was paralyzed from the neck down and was confined to a hospital bed. He would later die from his wounds in Veterans Research Hospital on November 27, 1969.
On October 13, 1969, Detective Singleton testified from a stretcher in criminal court against John Allen one of the surviving defendants. On November 27, 1969, Detective Singleton succumbed to his wounds 10 months later. On December 5, 1969, Nathan Wright, leader of the gang, was indicted for murder. Wright stood trial and was found guilty of murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted armed robbery. He was sentenced to 75 to 150 years in prison. James Allen was subsequently tried and found guilty of Detective Singleton’s murder and attempted armed robbery. He was sentenced to 100 to 200 years in prison. In 1983, he was granted parole. In 1984, he was charged with murdering three people and was found guilty. Allen escaped from Joliet Correctional Facility and was quickly apprehended. He is currently ineligible for parole.
Detective Singleton was waked at Griffin Funeral Home located at 3232 South Martin Luther King Junior Drive. His funeral mass was held at the St. James Cathedral located at 33 East Huron Street. He was laid to rest on November 30, 1969 in Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1441 Monument, Springfield, Illinois.
Detective Oliver Jerome Singleton, III, born March 16, 1927, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on September 21, 1953. He earned 1 Medal of Valor (posthumously), 1 Blue Star Award, 2 Department Commendations and 2 Honorable Mentions during his career. In March, 1961, he was promoted to Detective.
Detective Singleton served in the U.S. Navy, was a veteran of World War II and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Aviation Machinist Mate. He was also a member of the Illinois Police Association. Detective Singleton was survived by his wife, Patricia; parents: Oliver Jerome, II and Rosalia M. (nee Roberson) and siblings: Doralyn Alice Young, Robert (USMC) and Sally Anne Bats.
Incident Recorded under Lincolnwood Police Department Case #M69-2.