Friday, July 17, 2009

Street Sign Dedication

From the recollections of retired Sgt. John Northen:
  • As I reflect on my career as a proud member of "Chicago's Finest", I realize that I will be forever haunted by the painful memories of two dates: the nights of July 17, 1970 and May 13, 1990.
    On both nights, my hands became wet with the blood of two slain uniformed police officers--four damn good men with whom I had often laughed over a few cold beers.

    Tomorrow night marks the 39th anniversary of the sniper murders of Jim Severin and Tony Rizzato.

  • Family survivors and police will gather at 10 AM Saturday morning at 018 for the dedication of two memorial street signs on the southwest corner of Larrabee and Division Sts.
His entire story of that night can be read in the comment section of the Officers Shot post at 5:59 PM. It's a moving account of a very bad incident and seems timely in light of Thursday's multiple shootings in Chicago and New Jersey.

If you can make the dedication Saturday morning, it would be appreciated.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice john. I enjoyed the story. please post more stories.

7/17/2009 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger Loaded Dice said...

.....and most of us will never forget.............

Thanks Johnny for the rememberance......

God Save the CPD........

It could have been me or it could have been you...........

Thanks God for a Great Retirement...

7/17/2009 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger NorthSide said...

A shout-out to recently retired Sgt. AL PIANTKOWSKI, the "chief of police" for Beat 1820 for nearly a quarter of a century.

While I love the guy, he pisses me off because he's as modest as the legendary John Farrell. Without Al, the street sign dedication would never occur.

7/17/2009 06:39:00 AM  
Anonymous "BLUE TO THE BONE" said...

Want to check up on two cold-blooded cop killers? Both are suffering a terminal 39 year case of "lackanookie".

Go to

Scroll down the left column to the fifth entry "inmate search".

Enter either their names or IDOC#:

VEAL, Johnny #C01600

KNIGHTS, George C. #C15356


I didn't think so.

7/17/2009 07:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ald Lourino 39th has Honoary signs for Political Hacks that went to Jail for stealing money with her daddy. Nothing for the Cops or Firefighters or military.

7/17/2009 07:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the money again Northside. Al Piantkowski was one of the reasons you wanted to work in 018. Another real gentleman on the job. Great sense of humor too. When you see Al, ask him to tell you the story "Al and Gene go to the Police Memorial".

7/17/2009 07:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johnny Northside

I admit it. Your post about Severin and Rizzato made this grown man cry. You really should write books like Joe Wambaugh did from the LAPD. You always write really great stuff. I still remember when PO Gregory Hauser died in your arms when you called the 10-1.

RIP Sgt. Severin and PO Rizzato, Hauser and Kilroy.

7/17/2009 08:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be there.

7/17/2009 08:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear Bill Cozzi is driving Northside to 018 tomorrow. I'll lay odds that the WEISel is a no show. How could that piece of shit look either one of them in the eyes?

Will Shortshanks show up?

7/17/2009 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe J-Fed will give one of his phony pep talks in his "blood soaked" uniform. Kool-Aid will be served.

R.I.P. Sgt. Severin and Officer Rizzato.

7/17/2009 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Very moving. You got great chops for writing novels. No one was better on paper than your reports.

7/17/2009 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be there, but why did this take so long? They put up signs for Hugh Hefner, Blues Singeers, Politicians, Dead Kids, Crossing Guards, but not these officers?

I guess I should take solace that the sign from Mark Hampton never went up.

7/17/2009 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, I was just a 12 year old and I still remember the murder of these fine officers. At least back then the media was on our side, so was the city. 12:12, this was not a story like you tell your little kid a story. John, I think you should write a biography, I am sure it would be a great read.

7/17/2009 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...


Y'all should see the column Mike Royko wrote about Severin and Rizzato. You can find it on Google Books. June 20 1970.


7/17/2009 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice, thank you!!!!!!!!!!

7/17/2009 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God rest their souls.

7/17/2009 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Mark Fuhrman and Joe Wambaugh of the LAPD can write best sellers, why not John Northern.

7/17/2009 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger larry said...

For obvious reasons I can't be there but will be saying a silent prayer at 10 for everyone involved .

7/17/2009 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger NorthSide said...

Larry (9:01 PM)

When I think of the ambush murders of Jim Severin and Tony Rizzato, I remember the ambush double murders of Waverly Jones and Joe Piagentini outside the PJ in Harlem as well as Rocco Laurie and Gregory Foster on the Lower East Side.

All three double homicides were black against BLUE, not whites. As you know, while both Waverly Jones and Gregory Foster were black MOS, the common denominator was that all six of our fallen officers "bled BLUE" when executed with their weapons still in their holsters.

God bless both the NYPD and the CPD and all our fallen officers.

My thanks for kind comments about my heartfelt post.

7/17/2009 10:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Kurt Kaner said...

Don't forget that these convicted killers still come up for parole. They were sentenced to pre-1978 guidelines. Which means they come up for parole every year or three years. Sgt. Severins brother fought to keep them in prison till his dying breath. Now his daugther Jean keeps the fight going. There are approx. a dozen or so officers effected by this sentencing. My father is one of them. Kenneth Guy Kaner, E.O.W June 19, 1970. Ex.Sup. Phil Cline; love him or hate him, has stepped up and has sent bus loads of officers to Springfield to oppose release of these cop killers. Before that we; the victims families did it alone.
We; the Gold Star Families are planning a picnic at the memorial in Aug to show support. We will let you know of the date. Please show support to keep these cop killers in prison. The fight is not over.
I have personaly spoke to both the Severin and Rizzato families they are truely amazing people, as well as thier fallen loved ones were.

7/17/2009 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger NorthSide said...

Kurt at 11:40 PM

Your Dad was the best, Kurt. As you know, Kenny and I worked Fillmo' before he transferred to Englewood. Like the NYPD cops and Severin-Rizzato, his murder was an assasination as he sat in his squad writing a "missing" report at 74th and Union. Within a minute, 007 Tac Carl Malik and Ed Brown made the best pinch imaginable when they got them just 2 blocks away with the shotgun in the car just before the call came out on the zone.

You raise an excellent point in that regardless of sentence, these cold-blooded cop killers can come up for parole every three year.

As you noted, Jim Severin's brother Bill was always there for us until his recent passing. A first class gentleman

Hope to see you this morning.

7/18/2009 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very nice cermony today but it could have been better had someone that was there that night been allowed to speak. John Farrel or John Northern perhaps?

7/18/2009 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to all that showed up or showed their support, in person or in spirit.
Thanks to Cmdr. Georgas and ALL the members of 018 that hosted the event. Special thanks to the CPD Honor Guard, Pipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Fire Dept., and the antique Chicago Police car collectors that made the event even more special.
Last but not least to SCC for providing a forum and posting this site.
Stay Safe out there my brothers and sisters.
Jim and Tony, you will never be forgotten.

7/19/2009 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger NorthSide said...

10:26 AM

Let's give the credit where it is due.
While Steve Georgas gave fine opening and closing remarks and all went off without a hitch, I know that the commander would be the first person to acknowledge that the Street Sign Dedication Ceremony would NOT have even occurred but for the efforts of a nauseatingly humble fellow named AL PIANTKOWSKI.

Read the program (page 2) and see the third post to this thread by yours truly.

My only regret is that the WEISel took a duck before we could engage in rational discourse over brunch. I do appreciate the fact that he did NOT wear OUR uniform.

8:08 PM

I doubt that the powers-that-be would want me to address the gathering. While my tribute to Tony and Jim would be passionate, I would have also injected a call for Weis to either go after Antichrist Daley or resign forthwith.

Brother Farrell is as modest as Al.

7/19/2009 05:28:00 PM  

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