THORNDALE JAGOFFS/THORNDALE JARVIS ORGANIZATION:
A Chicago Newspaper wrote an article about the "Thorndale Jarvis Organization" in which a Chicago Police Officer referred to the gang as a "bunch of jag offs", from that time forward they changed their name to the "Thorndale Jag Offs". A retired member had this to say:
"When I was a teenager in Uptown in the 60's the TJO's and Turf were very active at Senn High School and the surrounding communities. The Turfers wore steeled toed work boots in all seasons and were known as garden variety street brawlers. I think most of them got that out of their systems and went on to a more normal lifestyle.
The TJO's were legendary in their time. I remember the leaders, but will leave out names in this forum. The TJOs were involved in burglary and a variety of criminal enterprises, similar to the Simon City Royals of recent decades. A prominent member, made the headlines in 1975 when he was part of a spectacular escape at the Cook County jail.
Long prison terms for a number of key members pretty much ended the reign of the TJOs in the mid and late 70's as I recall. In early 1963 I believe Chicago magazine did a story on street gangs in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The Simon city gang was in its infancy at the time and got some mention in the article. In the hot summer of 1966 gangs were in the news on a daily basis. The old Chicago American did a lengthy series on Chicagos street gangs in either July or August of that year. That paper became Chicago Today in 1969, it was a tabloid similar to the Sun Times. Before the paper folded in 1974 veteran reporter Jack Mabley did a story on a SCR branch active around Hamilton elementary in the Lake View neighborhood."
Senn Riots 1972: The Thordale Jarvis Organization was referred to in a 1972 Chicago Tribune article as the Blackstone Rangers of the the North Side with 200 active members.
Everybody Complains About Violence in the Streets; Letty Cooper Did Something About It
By Linda Witt
December 12, 1977
Letty Cooper's pleasant frame house on Chicago's North Side echoes to the cheerful sounds of her 10 well-behaved children. It is a typical house, in a typical middle-class setting. It is also a command post in a tense—and apparently victorious—four-and-a-half-year battle to rescue the neighborhood from the specter of violence.
The struggle began in the summer of 1973. Thorndale, where the Cooper family has resided since 1960, had always been a nice neighborhood—but now it was turning dangerous. A grocer had been murdered only four blocks away, and teenage toughs were terrorizing the streets. Then one July evening Letty Cooper's husband, Bill, a carpenter for the Chicago Transit Authority, shouted at a car that was going the wrong way on a one-way street. The car screeched into an alley, and a thug named Gary Kellas jumped out and shouted an obscenity. Cooper walked over to ask him to watch his language, and suddenly found himself on his back.
"All Bill remembers saying is, 'My name is Bill Cooper,' " says Letty. "Then he got decked. Kellas slugged him, knocked him down, then set him back up and kicked him in the face with his boot." Mrs. Cooper, a part-time pediatrics nurse, was getting the youngest children ready for bed when neighbors led her dazed husband inside. "You didn't have to have medical training to know how bad he was hurt," she recalls. "His eyelid was almost torn off his face."
For the next three days, while Cooper recovered in the hospital, gang members ruled the neighborhood. When men from a nearby apartment house caught two of them dismantling a padlocked motorcycle and went to the police station to press charges, some 40 young thugs began terrorizing their building. The mother of a retarded child was singled out for special abuse. "They stood outside her window," Mrs. Cooper remembers bitterly, "and they chanted, 'Send your little bitty retard out and we'll cut his little bitty throat.' "
Soon after Bill was released from the hospital the Coopers decided the time had come to fight back. "We were scared to death," says Letty, "but after talking with the cops—who didn't push us one way or the other—we came to the conclusion that if we didn't sign a complaint the gang would feel free to do anything they wanted."
Bravely, the Coopers pressed charges, and neighbors banded together to fight the gang. Within four months they had lodged more than 40 criminal complaints against the hoodlums. (Both the gang and residents are white.) "People began watching out for other people," says Mrs. Cooper, who by then had helped organize a neighborhood defense organization. "They called the cops. Most important, we all went to court. When Bill's case came up there were 60 people in the courtroom." (Kellas was found guilty of battery and sentenced to six months in jail. He was later convicted of murdering another neighbor.)
Not only did the new vigilance result in jail terms and fines, it also brought an unprecedented lawsuit from gang members. They claimed the citizens' group was infringing on their civil liberties. The suit was dismissed in 1976, and finally, today, the defendants have broken the gang's grip on their lives. "Once we thought, naively, that we could get these people out of our hair in six weeks," says Mrs. Cooper. "The frustrations have been tremendous. If I was a crier, I'd have been crying every day."
Recently Letty Cooper was singled out by the Chicago Crime Commission for its civilian Award of Merit. Mrs. Cooper is delighted with the plaque, which sits next to her police radio on a shelf in the dining room, but she is also a trifle embarrassed. "It was the whole community, not just me," she insists. "We were just neighbors who kinda exploded."
LEAD 80 LED NOWHERE
Cruz identified his roommates by their gang names. Gang Crimes intelligence revealed that they were Eric Huber and Brian Deering, white males that were members of the TJOs [Thorndale Jag-Offs]. Both men had recently been released from the penitentiary. They had records for violent criminal behavior. Huber and Brian Deering’s brother Patrick were incarcerated for nine years for their participation in a wild shoot-out with police on the North Side.
In an October 1984 drug deal gone awry, Huber, Deering and their ringleader Gary Kellas, attempted to sell $22,600 worth of cocaine to an undercover officer. The Chicago Police Department’s Organized Crime Division had set-up a sting. After attempting to take the money without turning over the cocaine, the gang members took out Uzis and began firing at the individuals now identified as police officers. A car chase ensued, the gunfire continued, and the TJOs were arrested and tried.
It was this same group of violent criminals who Cruz was implicating in the massacre. But Cruz was due in court. The investigators had to finish their questioning. Cruz would not talk about his relationship with Aviles. They had to let him go.
But Lead 80 was not dead. Zuley and Fowler planned a SuperBowl Sunday sweep to pick up the area TJOs, including Huber and the Deering brothers, and “front them” against one another. Gang members often talk. .....
Fowler learned little additional information from Brian Deering. Huber and Deering were consequently released, Lead 80 was declared dead, and the investigating officers were assigned to new leads. Zuley and Fowler were both assigned to investigative teams led by officers of a much lower rank. Shortly thereafter, Zuley, and later Fowler, left the Task Force. .......
O’Brien explained that Zuley was not fired from the Task Force but “detailed back to Chicago” and that he was “a cop that took many short cuts and few notes.” O’Brien went on to discredit Lead 80 by saying, “Deering and Huber were questioned extensively and lead 80 led nowhere, although it was damn interesting.” O’Brien now feels, “it still could have been Cruz, but there’s just not enough evidence to convict.” ........
Current intelligence continues to implicate Jose Cruz and his gang in the massacre. Chicago Gang Crimes continues to receive leads, tips and other intelligence almost weekly saying it was “a PR [Puerto Rican] Stones thing.” But this information is no longer forwarded to Task Force officials. The “beef” against Zuley, Fowler and Valdez set a precedent. Task Force command would not tolerate dissension in their ranks. Gang Crimes, when asked about situation, replies “you know what happened to Zuley.” The Task Force had effectively cut off the best source of current intelligence in Illinois. .......
Man guilty of robbery in undercover drug deal
Chicago Sun-Times | February 1, 1986
A North Side man accused of firing an Uzi submachine gun at police and stealing $25,000 in an undercover drug deal gone awry was convicted yesterday of armed robbery but acquitted of attempted murder.
A Criminal Court jury also found Gary Kellas, 35, of 1109 W. Bryn Mawr, guilty of aggravated assault for spraying gunfire Oct. 16 in the parking lot of Carson's Ribs, 5970 N. Ridge. Several jurors later expressed surprise when they learned the charge is only a misdemeanor.
Jurors said they rejected attempted-murder charges because they were not convinced Kellas had an "intent to kill" ....
Kellas v. IDOC
Gary L. Kellas, Plaintiff/appellant, v. Michael P. Lane, Philip L. Tinsley, Mark Varner, Davidzempel, Ike Tressler, Lieutenant Ticer, Davis Morris, R.bogan, James W. Fairman, Jr., Frank X. Zeimetz, Staceymckinley, Linwood Johnson, Defendants/appellees
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. - 916 F.2d 715
Submitted Oct. 9, 1990.*Decided Oct. 18, 1990
After having served 360 days in disciplinary segregation in the Centralia Correctional Center, inmate Gary L. Kellas was moved to the Joliet Correctional Center, where he was kept in disciplinary segregation for three more days and then, on January 27, 1988, was placed in involuntary protective custody without notice. Upon filing a grievance, he was summoned before the Illinois Department of Corrections Administrative Review Board on February 23, 1988. At that time Kellas told the Board that if they wanted to keep him in involuntary protective custody for a while, he understood, but that he simply wanted to know how long he would be kept there. The Board unanimously decided that Kellas would remain in protective custody "in view of his rank in the Northsiders gang." Kellas claims that his custody status has not been reevaluated.
Kellas filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Secs. 1983 and 1985(3) arising under the first and fourteenth amendments. On the same day he also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin defendant prison officials from keeping him detained in protective custody involuntarily. The district court denied his motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that Kellas did not demonstrate irreparable harm or an inadequate remedy at law. He now appeals from that denial......
Kellas contends that he had a liberty interest in being in the general prison population and that the defendant prison officials violated his constitutional right to due process of law.....