Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 7 years, 9 months, 19 day
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 20th District - Foster
District of Incident (Present Day): 019 - Town Hall
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 29
Date of Birth: 20 Dec 1943
Date of Appointment: 25 Oct 1965
Date of Incident: 26 Jul 1973
End of Watch: 26 Jul 1973
Date of Interment: 30 Jul 1973
Cemetery: St. Joseph Cemetery - River Grove, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot W1/2 39, Block --, Section RR
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 21
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 26
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 47-E: 7
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Louis Cullotta, Star #11801, aged 29 years, was an 7 years, 9 months, 19 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 20th District – Foster Tactical Unit.
On July 26, 1973, at 1:58 p.m., Officer Cullotta was on furlough and working as a counterman, with Departmental approval, at the Lunch Pail Diner located at 1038 West Wilson Avenue. Officer Cullotta was working behind a counter when George Edward Lyons, age 22, of 4943 North Kenmore Avenue, walked into the establishment, drew a revolver, and pulled the triger. The gun misfired, at which time Lyons pulled the trigger again and the gun fired. An on duty officer, Patrolman John Gofron, of the Foster Avenue station was sitting at the lunch counter finishing his lunch when Lyons walked in and shot Officer Cullotta. Officer Gofron leaped over the counter to take cover and landed in a stairway leading to the basement, In the process he fell down a few stairs, injuring his leg. Officer Gofron pulled himself up the stairs and fired a shot at Lyons as he fled the diner, but missed. Sergeants Joseph Mackey and Robert C. Geib were on patrol in the area and heard the shots when a passerby alerted them to the location of the shooting. The Sergeants responded and gave chase along with Officer Gofron, exchanging gunfire with Lyons. Lyons was apprehended at 1025 West Leland Avenue and yelled “kill me, kill me“ when he was caught. Officer Cullotta was shot once in the chest, the bullet causing internal damage and lodging in his spine. He was transported to Weiss Memorial Hospital by beat 2073 and was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Freedburg at 2:45 p.m. on July 26, 1973. A civilian, William Greenbaum, age 55, was also shot between his fingers on his left hand by a stray bullet during the incident. He was also taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released.
Further investigation revealed that Lyons was seeking revenge against Officer Cullotta over an interrogation that had occurred 3 years earlier on September 16, 1970. Officer Cullotta had stopped Lyons and completed a “Field Card Report“ and listed Lyons as a suspicious looking person but made no arrest. On December 5, 1973, Lyons was held to the Grand Jury which returned a True Bill. Lyons was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a state mental facility.
Officer Cullotta was waked at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home located at 6150 North Cicero Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Viator Catholic Church located at 4170 West Addison Street. He was laid to rest on July 30, 1973 in St. Joseph Cemetery, 3100 North Thatcher Avenue, River Grove, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot W1/2 39, Block –, Section RR.
Patrolman Louis Cullotta, born December 20, 1943, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 25, 1965. He earned 1 Honored Police Star (posthumously) and 70 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Cullotta was a member of the Confederation of Police. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth; children: Michael, age 5 and James, age 4 months and parents: Antennetti (nee Dugo and Dominic.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #N322389.