Patrolman Richard James O'Brien

Patrolman Richard James O'Brien

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Tuesday, February 9, 1982

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Richard James O'Brien

Patrolmen Richard James O'Brien and William Fahey were shot and killed during a traffic stop at about 2:00 pm, several hours after attending the funeral of Patrolman James Doyle.

They had stopped a car they observed run a red light at the intersection of 81st Street and Morgan Street.

Patrolman O'Brien, who was driving the squad car, approached the driver's side of the car while Patrolman William Fahey approached the passenger side. Patrolman Fahey ordered the passenger out and patted him down for a weapon. As he was attempting to handcuff the passenger, the man gained control of his .357 Magnum revolver, spun around, and fired at close range. The bullet struck Patrolman Fahey behind the left ear.

The assailant then fired across the trunk of the car, striking Patrolman O'Brien in the left arm and hip. One of the men in the vehicle then disarmed Patrolman O'Brien and the two fled the scene.

Help was first summoned to the scene when a voice was heard over the police radio system: "Emergency! Emergency! Two policemen have been shot at 81st and Morgan." It was later learned to be the voice of a witness to the shooting who ran to the squad car and grabbed the microphone when he saw the officers fall.

Patrolman O’Brien died a short time after the shooting at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park. Patrolman Fahey died the following morning at 11:14 a.m. without regaining consciousness.

Both officers were assigned to the Gang Crimes South Unit, however, they were not regular partners. Patrolman O'Brien's regular partner was off sick, and Patrolman Fahey's was filling in on a desk job for a furloughed policeman.

The killers were apprehended, convicted, and sentenced to death. On January 10th, 2003, the governor at the time, George Ryan commuted their sentences, along with those of all 164 other inmates on death row, to life in prison.

Patrolman Richard J. O’Brien was a 9-year veteran of the department. During his tenure, he received 6 honorable mentions and numerous letters of appreciation. He is the son of a former Chicago Police Sergeant and is survived by his mother.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge 5337

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .357 caliber
  • Offender Death sentence commuted

traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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I was speaking of this tragic incident last night with other officers. Although I was not yet Police, and, we had never met, I do remember this day. May you continue to RIP. And today you will be in my heart, and in my thoughts. GOD BLESS YOU.


February 9, 2022

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