Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 4 years, 10 months, 15 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 17th District - Albany Park
District of Incident (Present Day): Lincolnwood, IL
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 30
Date of Birth: 24 Jan 1947
Date of Appointment: 23 Oct 1972
Date of Incident: 07 Sep 1977
End of Watch: 07 Sep 1977
Date of Interment: 10 Sep 1977
Cemetery: Elmwood Park Cemetery - River Grove, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-6
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 10
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 32
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 27-E: 6
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: YES, Branch Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman James William Koumoundouros, Sr., Star #4514, aged 30 years, was a 4 year, 10 month, 15 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 17th District – Albany Park.
On September 7, 1977, at 10:40 a.m., Officer Koumoundouros while off duty was working as a security guard at The First National Bank of Lincolnwood located at 6201 North Lincoln Avenue, Lincolnwood, Illinois. Erasmo “Roberto” Ramirez, age 49, of 3434 North Broadway Avenue, entered the bank armed with a .38 caliber gun and walked directly to the officer’s desk. Ramirez ordered the officer to remove his gun and place it on the desk. As the officer began to rise from his desk, he discretely activated the alarm button which was located underneath the desk and began removing his gun from its holster. Officer Koumoundouros fired at Ramirez striking him in the thigh. Ramirez returned fire, shooting twice, striking Officer Koumoundouros in the head. Ramirez then fled the bank without taking any money. He went to his 1972 Buick which had false license plates taped onto his real plates and circled the parking lot twice in order to determine whether or not responding officers were nearby. As he drove away from the bank, he crashed into a tree at 3824 West Devon Avenue and was arrested by responding officers. Officer Koumoundouros was transported to Swedish Covenant Hospital by beat 1772 and was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Sarrafi at 1:04 a.m. on September 7, 1977. Ramirez was transported to Swedish Covenant Hospital by beat 1715 where he was treated for his wounds and transferred to Cermack Hospital.
Erasmo Ramirez was convicted of 1st degree murder and attempted armed robbery and was sentenced to the death penalty. Governor George Ryan commuted his sentence, along with those of all 167 other inmates on death row, to life in prison on January 20, 2003.
At the time of the incident, Erasmo Ramirez was an escapee from Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas and was serving a 35 year term for robbing a bank in San Antonio, Texas. He had been wanted on a warrant for robbing the same bank of $14,533 on August 6, 1977 and a Merrillville, Indiana bank of $5,000 on July 28, 1977. Ramirez later admitted to being a heroin addict which is why he was robbing banks to support his $300 a day habit. Ramirez’ criminal career began early in 1947 when he was 19 he went AWOL from the U.S. Army and was sentenced to nine months in a military stockade. He had since served eight prison and jail terms, three of which were for robbery.
Officer Koumoundouros was waked at Kringas & Marzullo Funeral Home located at 1857 North Harlem Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church located at 601 South Central Avenue. He was laid to rest on September 10, 1977 in Elmwood Park Cemetery, 2905 Thatcher Avenue, River Grove, Illinois.
Patrolman James W. Koumoundouros, Sr., born January 24, 1947, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October, 23, 1972.
Officer Koumoundouros served in the Armed Forces, was a veteran of the Korean War and was Honorably Discharged. He was survived by his wife, Karen Mary (nee Carrara); children: Anita Renee, age 10 months, James William, Jr., age 7, Karyn Marie, age 2, Mark Anthony, age 6 and father, Lambros James (CPD). He was preceded in death by his daughter, Loretta Angela, age 0 months and mother, Helen (nee Torney).
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #Y330893.