Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 1 year, 5 months, 10 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 5th District - Kensington
District of Incident (Present Day): 006 - Gresham
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 30
Date of Birth: 11 Oct 1941
Date of Appointment: 14 Dec 1970
Date of Incident: 24 May 1972
End of Watch: 24 May 1972
Date of Interment: 27 May 1972
Cemetery: Evergreen Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 13
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 24
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 59-E: 14
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Robert Lloyd Gallowitch, Star #15442, aged 30 years, was a 1 year, 5 month, 10 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 5th District – Kensington.
On May 24, 1972, at 10:00 a.m., Officer Gallowitch was on duty working 10-99 on beat 504. He responded to a burglar alarm call at Wittgren Jewelers located at 8649 South Cottage Grove Avenue with fellow officers. Upon arrival Officer Gallowitch, who was working alone 10-99, went to the rear while Patrolman Kenneth Jacobs and Evidence Technician Paul McGrath, both 10-99, entered the front of the location. Three men, Wilbert Droughns, age 20, Galvan Jackson, age 20 and Frederick C. Lancaster, age 21, were disguised as telephone repairman and in the process of burglarizing the jewelry store. As Officer Gallowitch stepped from his squad car, Lancaster jumped out from the side of the building. Officer Gallowitch went for his revolver and was shot by Lancaster in the abdomen. Officer Gallowitch returned fire and shot Lancaster in the right and left leg. The other officers heard the gunfire and ran to the rear of the location. Lancaster jumped into an Illinois Bell Telephone Company truck and tried to drive off, but was blocked by Officer Gallowitch’s squad car. Lancaster then surrendered to Officers Jacobs and McGrath and a .22 caliber pistol was recovered from Lancaster. Officer Gallowitch was transported to Jackson Park Hospital where he underwent surgery. His heart stopped five times and at 2:26 p.m. his heart stopped for a sixth time and surgeons were unable to revive him.
Also apprehended at the scene were Jackson and Droughns. All three men were charged with murder, robbery, unlawful restraint, and conspiracy to commit robbery. Further investigation revealed that the Jewelry store owner called in the alarm after he saw two suspicious men approach the rear of the store in an Illinois Bell Telephone Company truck. The men tried to use the truck as a ruse to cut the telephone lines to the store. The men had just hijacked the truck from George Clark, 20 the driver of the truck. The men handcuffed and blindfolded Clark and then put him in the rear of the panel truck. They then drove to the jewelry store.
Frederick Lancaster later pleaded guilty to Officer Gallowitch’s murder and was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. In 1982, Lancaster filed a two million dollar federal lawsuit against Illinois State Prison Officials. He claimed that prison officials were not giving him needed treatment for his kidney ailment. On July 28, 1982, Lancaster was released from prison by Cook County Judge Daniel Ryan because of his ailment. The Illinois Appellate Court overruled Judge Ryan and remanded Lancaster back to prison two days later. Prior to his release authorities from Joliet Correctional Facility had been transporting Lancaster three times a week to the University of Illinois Medical Center for his five hour dialysis sessions.
Officer Gallowitch was waked at Opyt Funeral Home located at 13350 South Baltimore Avenue. His funeral mass was held at Annunciata Church located at 11128 South Avenue G. He was laid to rest on May 27, 1972 in Evergreen Cemetery, 3401 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois.
Patrolman Robert Lloyd Gallowitch, born October 11, 1941, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on December 14, 1970 and was in Recruit Class 70-6D at the O’Brien Street Police Academy.
Officer Gallowitch was survived by his wife, Joan (nee Roma); children: Michelle, age 2 and Robert, age 6; parents: Hilda (nee Kieschnick) and Joseph; brother, Norman and step-sister.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #M195626.
In January, 1973, Officer Gallowitch’s star was retired by Superintendent James B. Conlisk and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the 4th floor Office of the Superintendent at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. The Honored Star Case was later relocated to the lobby of Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Gallowitch’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.