John J. Gilhooly
Chicago Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Friday, November 14, 1969
Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 1 year, 1 month
Badge # 3502
Incident Date: 11/13/1969
Suspect: Shot and killed
Officer John J. Gilhooly and Officer Frank G. Rappaport were ambushed by a member of the radical group Black Panthers on a false call of a “man with a gun”.
As the officers entered a gangway between two buildings the man opened fire with a shotgun from a porch below, striking Officer Rappaport in the chest and Officer Gilhooly in the face and neck. The suspect then shot Officer Rappaport again as he lay on the ground, killing him.
Officer Gilhooly was transported to Billings Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds the following day. The suspect was later shot and killed by other officers.
Officer Gilhooly is survived by his father, brother, and sister.
The Black Panthers is a racist, radical group that professed the murders of law enforcement officers. Members and former members of the group were responsible for the murders of at least 15 law enforcement officers and the wounding of dozens more across the nation.
From the beginning the Black Panther Party’s focus on militancy came with a reputation for violence. They employed a California law which permitted carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun as long as it was publicly displayed and pointed at no one. Carrying weapons openly and making threats against police officers, for example, chants like “The Revolution has co-ome, it’s time to pick up the gu-un. Off the pigs!”, helped create the Panthers’ reputation as a violent organization.
On May 2, 1967, the California State Assembly Committee on Criminal Procedure was scheduled to convene to discuss what was known as the “Mulford Act“, which would ban public displays of loaded firearms. Cleaver and Newton put together a plan to send a group of about 30 Panthers led by Seale from Oakland to Sacramento to protest the bill. The group entered the assembly carrying their weapons, an incident which was widely publicized, and which prompted police to arrest Seale and five others. The group pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of disrupting a legislative session.
On October 17, 1967, Oakland police officer John Frey was shot to death in an altercation with Huey P. Newton during a traffic stop. In the stop, Newton and backup officer Herbert Heanes also suffered gunshot wounds. Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter at trial. This incident gained the party even wider recognition by the radical American left, and a “Free Huey” campaign ensued. Newton was released after three years, when his conviction was reversed on appeal. During later years Newton would boast to sociobiologist Robert Trivers (one of the few whites who became a Party member during its waning years) that he had in fact murdered officer John Frey.
On April 7, 1968, Panther Bobby Hutton was killed, and Cleaver was wounded in a shootout with the Oakland police. Two police officers were also shot. Although at the time Cleaver claimed that the police had ambushed them, Cleaver later admitted that he had led the Panther group on a deliberate ambush of the police officers, thus provoking the shoot-out.
From the fall of 1967 through the end of 1970, nine police officers were killed and 56 were wounded, and ten Panther deaths and an unknown number of injuries resulted from confrontations. In 1969 alone, 348 Panthers were arrested for a variety of crimes. On February 18, 1970 Albert Wayne Williams was shot by the Portland Police Bureau outside the Black Panther party headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Though his wounds put him in a critical condition, he made a full recovery.
In May 1969, Black Panther Party members tortured and murdered Alex Rackley, a 19-year-old member of the New York chapter, because they suspected him of being a police informant. Three party officers — Warren Kimbro, George Sams, Jr., and Lonnie McLucas — later admitted taking part. Sams, who gave the order to shoot Rackley at the murder scene, turned state’s evidence and testified that he had received orders personally from Bobby Seale to carry out the execution. After this betrayal, party supporters alleged that Sams was himself the informant and an agent provocateur employed by the FBI. The case resulted in the New Haven, Connecticut Black Panther trials of 1970, memorialized in the courtroom sketches of Robert Templeton. The trial ended with a hung jury, and the prosecution chose not to seek another trial.
Murder of Betty van Patter
Black Panther bookkeeper Betty van Patter was murdered in 1974, and although this crime was never solved, the Panthers, according to the magazine Mother Jones, were “almost universally believed to be responsible”. David Horowitz became certain that Black Panther members were responsible and denounced the Panthers. When Huey Newton was shot dead 15 years later, Horowitz characterized Newton as a killer. When Art Goldberg, a former colleague at Ramparts, alleged that Horowitz himself was responsible for the death of van Patter by recommending her for the position of Black Panther accountant, Horowitz counter-alleged that “the Panthers had killed more than a dozen people in the course of conducting extortion, prostitution and drug rackets in the Oakland ghetto.” He said further that the organization was committed “to doctrines that are false and to causes that are demonstrably wrongheaded and even evil.” Former chairperson Elaine Brown also questioned Horowitz’s motives in recommending van Patter to the Panthers; she suspected espionage. Horowitz later became known for his conservative viewpoints and opposition to leftist thought.