BAXTER COUNTY, Arkansas -- A man who spent decades as a Chicago police officer has been killed in rural Arkansas.
Chester Hornowski, 71, was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds Dec. 5 in a residence in Mountain Home, Ark., according to the Baxter County sheriff’s office. A man who attempted to flee the scene in a pickup truck as officers arrived was arrested after the truck crashed into a police vehicle, authorities said.
The suspect, Robert Dean Penny, has been charged with first-degree murder in Hornowski’s death and remained in Baxter County Jail on Christmas Day, according to online jail records.
Hornowski joined the Chicago Police Department around 1970 and worked for the department for more than 30 years on the Northwest Side, according to Tribune archives and an online condolence message posted by the Illinois Army National Guard. Hornowski served in the National Guard for 36 years, retiring from its 108th Sustainment Brigade in 2001, the notice said.
Mountain Home is a common destination for Chicago-area retirees, and Hornowski had moved there after his own retirement, according to the National Guard statement.
He was also involved in Chicago’s political scene for many years and made several runs for elected office over the years, including for mayor, alderman, the state legislature and Congress. Hornowski challenged then-U.S. Rep. Michael Flanagan in the 1996 Republican primary and also ran in the GOP primary for mayor in 1987, the year Democrat Harold Washington was re-elected.
According to published reports, Hornowski ran a boarding house in Arkansas and was discussing a noise complaint with a tenant when he was shot. The sheriff’s office reported that authorities were called to the scene early in the morning on Dec. 5 to investigate a possible shooting and found Hornowski dead with gunshot wounds to the hands, chest and face.
Two sheriff’s deputies fired their weapons at the fleeing vehicle as it accelerated toward a deputy, authorities said. A 9 mm semiautomatic pistol and other evidence were recovered from the scene, the sheriff’s department said.
Associated Press contributed.
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