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Downers Grove

Council recognizes 40th anniversary of police officer Richard Barth's killing

DOWNERS GROVE – The Downers Grove Village Council recognized the 40th anniversary of Downers Grove Police Officer Richard Barth's killing with a moment of silence during its regular meeting Tuesday.

On March 18, 1974, Barth responded to what appeared to be a “routine call” of two suspicious youths in what is now known as Hoopers Hollow Park.

He was questioning the youths when one of the subjects, Paul Fontani, produced a handgun and fatally shot Barth, according to Downers Grove Police Chief Robert Porter.

The two suspects were later arrested and convicted of first-degree murder. Both subjects are now out of prison, according to Porter.

"Officer Barth’s death serves as a grim reminder of the dangers associated with our chosen profession," Porter wrote in a staff memo.

"Officer Barth is one of over 19,000 brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our nation’s streets. We can never forget the sacrifices that these officers have made while faithfully discharging their duties."

The annual Richard J. Barth ceremony will take place on Police Memorial Day, 1 p.m. May 15 at Barth Pond in Patriot's Park at the intersection of 55th Street and Grand Avenue.

"We remember him and celebrate his life and take lessons from his death and appreciate the service he has given us, well as other first responders, both before and now and in the future here in Downers Grove and elsewhere," Mayor Martin Tully said during Tuesday's council meeting.

Downers Grove Police Officers were also encouraged to wear black bands on their badges in memory of Barth.

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