At 9:30 a.m. on March 19th, 1985, Officer Rosario Collura and Officer Leonard Lesniewski were gunned down in an alley by a man who later said that he did it because he did not want to go back to jail.
Officer Collura and Officer Lesniewski interrupted a drug deal at N. 17th Street and W. Center Street. The officers began frisking the men. As one of the men was searched, he pulled a gun and shot both officers in the chest.
Officer Lesniewski died from a bullet to his heart. Officer Collura made it to the hospital and was expected to survive but died about six hours later from uncontrollable bleeding.
Officer Collura was 39 years old. He was wounded once before in the line of duty. In 1973, he was one of four officers who were shot during a struggle with a prisoner in the garage of the 5th District. In that incident he was shot twice in the right leg. He was awarded a merit citation for performance above and beyond the call of duty.
Officer Collura had been assigned to the 5th District since his appointment in December 1966. It’s where he had grown up, lived at the time and eventually would die. Only two weeks earlier, he switched from the night shift to the day shift, where he thought he’d be safer.
Officer Collura was married and had three children—two daughters and a son.
The shooter, Terrance Davis, 26-years-old at the time of shooting, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison.