Street dedication honors US marshals killed by inmate trying to escape Dirksen Federal Courthouse

Michelle Gallardo Image
Monday, July 25, 2022
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Bill Frakes and Harry Belluomini, U.S. marshals killed in a Chicago shooting at the Dirksen Federal Building, were honored with a street dedication.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been 30 years since Bill Frakes and Harry Belluomini lost their lives trying to stop an inmate from escaping Chicago's Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

On Monday, both men were together once again, if only symbolically. A street sign designating the 200-block of South Dearborn Street as Roy L. Bill Frakes Memorial Way, was unveiled this morning by Frakes' widow, Wendy.

"We relocated from the Quad Cities to Chicago with so many dreams and hopes for the future," she said.

Originally from Avon, Illinois, Frakes was 30 years old and had been a deputy U.S marshal for only nine months when he was killed on July 20, 1992.

Frakes was shot in the forehead by Jeffrey Erickson, a former suburban cop on trial for a string of bank robberies who had managed to get out of his restraints and disarm another deputy as he was in the process of being transferred back to the MCC. Erickson killed Frakes first, then engaged in a shootout with retired CPD officer Belloumini, as he attempted to run up the ramp that led out of the garage.

In the end, Erickson shot himself in the head. Retired U.S Marshal John O'Malley remembers the day like it was yesterday.

"I was two-and-a-half years on the job, 26 years old. It really was a wakeup call," O'Malley said.

This is a dedication that was originally scheduled for March 20, 2020. The pandemic lockdown forced its cancellation at the time.

"It was his life's ambition to be a U.S. marshal. He was so proud," said U.S District Court Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer.

"My world was shattered and that of his family and friends. To this very day I always wonder what could have been for us," Wendy said.

The shooting forever changed the way inmates are transferred between courthouses and jails, not just here, but across the country.