Retired cop slain in West Garfield Park is mourned by the community he served; person of interest in custody

Larry Neuman sought to bring folks together and hoped to do more for young people. The retired police officer, Vietnam veteran and ordained minister ‘probably knew just about everybody in the neighborhood.’

SHARE Retired cop slain in West Garfield Park is mourned by the community he served; person of interest in custody
A woman wearing glasses and a black shirt wth colorful lettering, shown amid a crowd, closes her eyes in prayer during a vigil for slain retired police officer Larry Neuman.

A mourner closes her eyes in prayer Sunday at a march and vigil in honor of slain former Chicago police Officer Larry Neuman, who was gunned down Thursday in West Garfield Park.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Neighbors and elected officials gathered Sunday for a vigil in honor of Larry Neuman, a retired Chicago police officer and ordained minister who was killed last week in West Garfield Park.

Late Sunday afternoon, a person of interest in the shooting was taken into custody, police said.

Neuman, 73, was shot to death in the 4300 block of West Monroe Street about 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Police released video footage Saturday of two people possibly involved in the shooting and asked for the public’s help to identify them.

“This is a tough day,” Pastor Paul Sims of St. Michael Missionary Baptist Church told the crowd. “We lost a great pillar of this community … Reverend Neuman called me on Wednesday night and said he wanted to do more for the youth in the community. Anyone who knew Larry Neuman knew he would’ve done whatever he could for those two young men in that video.”

A photo of Larry Neuman hangs on a chain link fence alongside a card signed with personal messages from many people.

“He spent his entire career safeguarding our city and spent his retirement as a reverend, speaking out against the violent crime that’s plaguing our neighborhoods,” police Supt. Larry Snelling said last week about Larry Neuman.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Police said Sunday that detectives were questioning a person of interest in the shooting. The suspect surrendered to police about 5:45 p.m. at the 11th District police station on the West Side.

The suspect, flanked by officers, walked into the station in handcuffs after turning himself in at the station’s parking garage. He was accompanied by family, who gathered in the station’s lobby as he was being processed.

Police surround a shooting suspect wearing an olive green hoodie, escorting him into the brick 11th District police station on Chicago's West Side.

Police escort a suspect in the shooting death of Larry Neuman into the 11th District police station on the West Side on Sunday afternoon.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

No charges have been announced.

At the vigil, Mayor Brandon Johnson said he knew the community could come together not only to grieve and find strength in each other but also to “restore.” He said accountability for those involved in the shooting must be paired with increased opportunities for people living in historically disenfranchised neighborhoods.

“We know the challenges that exist in our community because they did not show up overnight,” Johnson said. “Officer Larry has been fighting for a very long time to make sure that the young brothers on the block had hope. His living and his dying will not be in vain.”

Police Supt. Larry Snelling said the department would stand with those who live in the community and would work with neighbors to increase safety.

“When you look at everybody coming together right now, this is the start of something,” Snelling said. “We’re going to be here. We’re dug in, and we’re going to make sure we stand with this community, work with you, uplift everybody over here and bring this neighborhood back to where it’s supposed to be.”

Neuman was a police officer for 28 years and retired in 2010. He was also a veteran of the Marines who served in Vietnam. In retirement, Neuman had been working for the Transportation Security Administration as an explosives expert, training agents at O’Hare and Midway airports to detect explosives and other potential threats.

Neuman was also an ordained minister and active volunteer.

He “probably knew just about everybody in the neighborhood,” said Tiffany Higgins, who met him at church and worked with him at the West Side Community Empowerment Center, a local organization that hosts family-friendly events.

The day before Neuman died, he dropped by Bridget Boss’ house because he noticed workers doing construction and wanted to check in, she said. Boss also knew Neuman from church and worked with him at West Side Community Empowerment Center.

A large crowd of residents and community members march on a hazy day to a vigil for slain retired police officer and minister Larry Neuman.

The community marches to a vigil held in honor of slain Officer Larry Neuman. The 28-year CPD veteran retired in 2010. In retirement, he worked for the TSA as a trainer in explosives detection.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

“He was just loving,” Boss told the Sun-Times. “He came across from the church to my house and was just like, ‘Hey, let me help out. Let me make sure everything’s being done right.’ He always just wanted to help out wherever he could.”

Neuman is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

Visitation for Neuman will be 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at St. Michael Missionary Baptist Church, 4106 W. Monroe St., where Neuman was a member for 30 years as well as a pastor. Funeral services will be held 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Michael.

West Side Community Empowerment Center, where Neuman served on the board, will dedicate a PlayStreets event to him in July. The 4100 block of Monroe Street will be closed off 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 12 so families can gather to enjoy music, refreshments and activities. Organizers also plan to plant flowers near Neuman’s home in his memory during the event.

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