Hundreds pay respects to Richard Francis

July 6, 2008 9:06:25 PM PDT
Hundreds, including Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weiss, attend a wake to honor slain officer Richard Francis.The wake began at noon and ended around 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Chicago police officers from all ranks and districts stood in line on a hot July day to honor one of their own. They came in full uniform, suits or plain clothes with bullet proof vests. Officer Richard Francis was a 27 year veteran of the Police Department.

"He has been my hero since I saw him hit a home run in Wells Park when I was probably three," said close family friend Sean Casey whose father inspired Francis to join the force.

Many describe Officer Francis as a hero. Francis was a Navy Seal in Vietnam and earned 35 honorable mentions as a police officer.

The 60-year-old was killed on Wednesday on a routine call, just yards away from the police station. Francis was shot during an alleged struggle with a woman who had caused a disturbance on a CTA bus.

Co-workers of Francis, who worked out of the 19th District, called him "Buzz". Francis was known as a beat cop who loved being on the streets, but was also devoted to his family and his basset hounds.

"He was just a steady guy. He worked midnights all the time because of family obligations. And he did his job, one of those people you could depend on," said Frank Kehoe, former 19th District Commander.

The dependable cop brought out hundreds to his wake, including co-workers, firefighters, motorcycle clubs, civilians and politicians.

"I think it is important that all the people of Illinois bear witness to true sacrifice," said Lt. Governor Pat Quinn.

Officer Francis is survived by his wife, Debbie and two stepdaughters.

Robin Johson, 45, has been charged with Francis' murder. Johnson, who was shot by responding officers, remains in the hospital in stable condition and is being held without bail.

Funeral proceedings in honor of Officer Francis are scheduled to begin on Monday at 10:00 a.m., followed by a funeral service at St. Monica Catholic Church in Chicago. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.


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