Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 2 months
Badge # Not available
Incident Date: 7/22/1978
Weapon: Edged weapon; Shank
Correctional Officer Robert Conkle, Lieutenant William Thomas and Correctional Officer Stanley Cole were killed during a riot at the Pontiac Correctional Center.
Around 9:00 am, about 500 inmates were returning to their cells in the North Cell House when a riot erupted. The inmates set fire to several buildings in the complex resulting in an estimated $4 million in damages. Lieutenant Thomas and Correctional Officer Conkle were stabbed with shanks numerous times shortly after the riot began. Correctional Officer Cole was stabbed with a screwdriver.
Correctional center staff and Illinois State Police troopers were able to restore order and return the inmates to their cells 11 hours later. Seventeen inmates were charged with the murders of the correctional officers, but none were convicted.
Correctional Officer Conkle had served with the Illinois Department of Corrections for only two months.