Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 6 years, 5 months, 1 day
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 10th District - Marquette
District of Incident (Present Day): 008 - Chicago Lawn
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 36
Date of Birth: 17 Oct 1938
Date of Appointment: 22 Jul 1968
Date of Incident: 23 Dec 1974
End of Watch: 23 Dec 1974
Date of Interment: 28 Dec 1975
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot N1/2 241, Block --, Section KC
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-6
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 3
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 29
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 36-E: 7
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Navy
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Harl Gene Meister, Star #10054, aged 36 years, was a 6 year, 5 month, 1 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 10th District – Marquette.
On December 23, 1974, at 9:35 p.m., Officer Meister, while shopping with his young son, entered his car in the parking lot of the Community Discount Store located at 5601 South Cicero Avenue. At this time, Officer Meister was confronted by four armed robbers: Nathan Dudley, age 17, of 321 South Kilbourn Avenue; Anthony Freeman, age 15, of 4446 West Wilcox Street; Charles Jakes, age 19, of 4436 West Wilcox Street and Anthony Reese, age 15, of 5343 West Adams Street. As Officer Meister dropped his packages and drew his gun, Freeman fired his .22 caliber pistol. Officer Meister was able to return fire seven times but was shot. His 8 year old son, Harry, was also shot in the left cheek with the bullet passing through his jaw, neck and lodging in his shoulder. Officer Meister was transported to Holy Cross Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Wilcox at 10:15 p.m. on December 23, 1974. His son was also transported to Holy Cross Hospital, treated and made a full recovery. A .22 caliber pistol was recovered in a snow bank two blocks from the scene of the crime.
Anthony Freeman was apprehended a block from the shooting scene and arrested at 10:00 p.m. Anthony Reese Nathaniel arrested at 11:45 p.m. On December 24, 1974, Dudley was arrested at 3:30 a.m. and Charles Jakes was arrested at 3:50 a.m. Both were held without bail. All four were charged with murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery and attempted robbery as adults. Freeman stood trial and pleaded guilty. On December 23, 1975, he was sentenced to 20 to 50 years in prison and later died in prison while serving his sentence in 2005. Anthony Reese was found guilty and sentenced to 14 to 20 years in prison for felony murder. Nathaniel Dudley and Charles Jakes pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 3 to 9 years each for attempted armed robbery.
Officer Meister was waked at Lain & Son Funeral Home located at 2121 West 95th Street. His funeral mass was held at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church located at 6435 South Kilbourn Avenue. He was laid to rest on December 28, 1975 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, 3801 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot N1/2 241, Block –, Section KC.
Patrolman Harl Gene Meister, born October 17, 1938, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on July 22, 1968. He earned 1 Honored Police Star (posthumously) and several Honorable Mentions during his career. He was previously assigned to the Area 4 Special Operations Group.
Officer Meister served in the U.S. Navy for eight years as a Shore Patrolman and was Honorable Disharged. He was also a member and former 1969 and 1970 Director and Treasurer of the Confederation of Police. Officer Meister was survived by his wife, Judith Ann (nee Giltmier), age 34; children: Harry Charles, age 8, Jennifer, age 4 and Nancy, age 3 and parents: Harry E. and Susan Mildred (nee Proud Foot).
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #P616172.