Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 18 years, 4 months, 25 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Detective Division - Crime Detection Laboratory
District of Incident (Present Day): 003 - Grand Crossing
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 44
Date of Birth: 29 Dec 1909
Date of Appointment: 16 Apr 1935
Date of Incident: 11 Sep 1954
End of Watch: 11 Sep 1954
Date of Interment: 15 Sep 1954
Cemetery: Prairie Dell Cemetery - Watseka, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Cremated
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-3
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 48
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 56-W: 2
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army Air Corps
Incident & Biographic Details
Sergeant Richard J. Roushorn, Star #374, aged 44 years, was an 18 year, 4 month, 25 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Detective Division – Crime Detection Laboratory.
On September 11, 1954, Sergeant Roushorn was involved in a minor traffic accident with a city Bureau of Transportation truck driver, Livingston McGraw, age 40 of 4934 South Forestville Avenue. McGraw was driving a garbage truck en route to the city dump at Lake Calumet. Sergeant Roushorn, was off duty, driving home after his shift at the detective division. Both men were traveling Southbound on south South Park Avenue (present day Dr. Martin Luther King Drive) near the intersection of 63rd Street. Sergeant Roushorn’s car was in the lane nearest the curb when it was scraped along its left side by the refuse truck. Sergeant Roushorn pulled up beside the truck half a block south and both men pulled over at 6320 South South Park Avenue. Following the crash an argument ensued when McGraw denied hitting Roushorn’s car. Sergeant Roushorn told McGraw that he was going to take him into the station when McGraw stated that he would be so confrontational if Roushorn did not have a gun. Sergeant Roughorn, hearing this took off his gun belt and placed it on the front seat of his car. At some point Roushorn became distracted and McGraw ran to the car and took the gun out of the holster. He pointed it at Roushorn and said,”I’m on this end now” and without warning fired upon Roushorn who was advancing on him. McGraw had emptied the gun striking Roushorn three times. Sergeant Roushorn was struck in the abdomen, liver and chest. He died six hours later at Woodlawn Hospital.
Eyewitness, John Cash, age 42, engineer of the 17th District – New City Station who was driving just behind Roushorn, stated to Detective Richard Disteldorf of the 7th District – Woodlawn Station that Roushorn, after an exchange of words, raised his hand in threatening manner and McGraw said, “You wouldn’t be so brave without that gun on you.“ Roushorn removed his belt and gun, placing them on the front seat of his car. One of several witnesses assembled sought to intercede, and while Roushorn talked to the witness McGraw grabbed the gun and opened fire. Roushorn turned with the first bullet, and fell when the second was fired, but McGraw continued firing until the revolver was emptied. Park District Detective Virgil Poole arrived a few seconds later and observed McGraw placing the gun back on the front seat of Roushorn’s cat. Detective Poole approached McGraw and immediately placed him under arrest. Other witnesses told similar stories.
Following the crash McGraw confessed to grabbing the sergeant’s revolver from the front seat of his car and firing all six bullets at him. Livingston McGraw was arrested and had a minor record of offenses. He stood trial and was found guilty of murder. On July 14, 1955, McGraw was sentenced to 14 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet.
Sergeant Roushorn was waked at Cooney Mortuary located at 12 East 112th Place, was cremated, and entombed on September 15, 1954 in Prairie Dell Cemetery, on 2150 North Road (County Highway 31), Watseka, Iroquois County, Illinois.
Sergeant Richard J. Roushorn, born December 29, 1909, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 16, 1935. He earned 2 Credible Mentions and 1 Extra Compensation for Meritorious Conduct totaling $200.00 during his career. Roushorn was promoted to Temporary Laboratory Technician on August 1, 1952 and Sergeant on February 6, 1953.
Sergeant Roushorn served in the U.S. Army Air Corps enlisting on December 15, 1942 in the 331st Base Unit, was a veteran of World War II and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Private. He was also a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association and the Illinois Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. Sergeant Roushorn was survived by his wife, Jean M. (nee Ronsborn); daughter, Regina; mother, Dolly LaChapelle (nee Strahl) and sister, Helen Strand.