Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 1 year, 3 months, 16 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 2nd District - Wentworth
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 26
Date of Birth: 21 Jan 1972
Date of Appointment: 05 May 1997
Date of Incident: 15 Aug 1998
End of Watch: 21 Aug 1998
Date of Interment: 26 Aug 1998
Cemetery: All Saints Catholic Cemetery - Des Plaines, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-8
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 14
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 4, Line 26
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 24-W: 21
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Unknown
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Michael Anthony Ceriale, Star #17429, aged 26 years, was a 1 year, 3 month, 16 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 2nd District – Wentworth.
On August 15, 1998, at 3:38 p.m., Officer Ceriale and his partner, Patrolman Joseph Ferenzi, were conducting an undercover narcotics surveillance on Gangster Disciple gang members: Jonathan Tolliver, Willie Hunter, George Alexander, and Robert Brandt. The officers were conducting drug surveillance near the Robert Taylor Homes located at 4101 South Federal Street. They were hiding near some bushes on Root Street when Brandt noticed the officers. Brandt alerted Hunter and Tolliver to the presence of the officers. Then, Hunter and Tolliver ran out of the building with their guns drawn; Tolliver fired one fatal shot. The shot struck Officer Ceriale in the abdomen just below his bulletproof vest. Officer Ceriale was transported to Cook County Hospital where he underwent five surgeries and used more than 200 pints of blood donated in several blood drives. On August 21, 1998, at 3:39 a.m. he succumbed to his injuries at Cook County Hospital.
In total seven men were arrested in connection with Officer Ceriale’s murder. Ezra Evans, age 27, who illegally supplied the gang members with 13 guns, including the weapon used to murder Officer Ceriale was sentenced to 25 months in prison. Robert Brandt, age 20, accepted a plea deal, in exchange for surrendering the weapon used to murder Officer Ceriale to police, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the drug and weapons charges against him. Brandt pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Hunter, age 25 and Alexander, age 21, pleaded guilty to 1st degree murder and were each sentenced to 30 years in prison. Tolliver, age 19, stood trial and during jury deliberation one jury member refused to change his vote for acquittal and the trial ended in a hung jury. Tolliver was retried and found guilty of 1st degree murder in addition to the manufacture and delivery of cocaine. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Officer Ceriale was waked at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home located at 6150 North Cicero Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral located at 843 North Oakley Avenue. He was laid to rest on August 26, 1998 in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, 700 North River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois.
Patrolman Michael Anthony Ceriale, born January 21, 1972, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on May 5, 1997. He attended the Jackson Street Police Academy and was in Recruit Class 97-2.
Officer Ceriale was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his parents: Anthony Morris and Maria (nee Retelskyj) and grandmother, Anna Retelskyj.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #C516005.
On November 6, 1998, Officer Ceriale’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 Ceriale’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.
In memory of Officer Ceriale a mounted unit horse was named Mikey C. in his honor in 2003. Tragically, Mikey C. died in the performance of duty on August 29, 2011 at North Avenue Beach from natural causes.