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Police Solve Officer's Killing From 1983

Police Solve Officer's Killing From 1983

Gary Wayne Pettigrew, Officer L.C. Tribble

Dallas Morning News via YellowBrix

August 28, 2010

FARMERS BRANCH, TX – Farmers Branch police officer Lowell Clayton “L.C.” Tribble was on his way back to work about 1 a.m. in August 1983, after dropping off flu medicine at home for his ailing 2-year-old son.

Within moments, someone gunned down the 38-year-old officer inside his patrol car, and police struggled to capture his killer for nearly three decades.

Friday, 27 years to the day of Tribble’s death, Farmers Branch police and Dallas County prosecutors announced the arrest and indictment of Gary Wayne Pettigrew in what had been the oldest unsolved cop killing in the state.

“It kind of came out of the blue. I didn’t know they had anything,” Tribble’s daughter Sheila Schaack said in an interview later Friday. “I’m still kind of in shock. I don’t recognize the guy. But he’s kind of creepy looking.”

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins made the announcement at an afternoon news conference at his Frank Crowley Courts Building office. He said that Pettigrew, 63, who has already been indicted on a capital murder charge, was arrested Friday morning at a Tarrant County hospital where he was undergoing a medical procedure.

“It seems he expected it to come,” Watkins said about Pettigrew’s reaction. He declined to say what Pettigrew said to arresting officers.

Pettigrew did not respond to a request for an interview Friday and county records do not indicate whether he has an attorney. State District Judge Robert Burns set his bail at $5 million.

Judy Pettigrew, who identified herself as Pettigrew’s “estranged wife,” said in a brief interview that her husband wasn’t guilty.

“They’re wrong,” she said. “They’re making a big, big mistake.”

She declined to comment further.

Pettigrew has prior convictions in Dallas County dating to the 1980s for burglary, unlawfully carrying a weapon and theft, as well as two convictions for delivery of a controlled substance.

Records show Pettigrew had been living in Fort Worth, and Watkins said he had been “keeping a low profile” in recent years.

Over the years, Farmers Branch police had a suspect in the slaying but the suspect was never publicly identified and they had very little evidence. When Watkins took office in 2007, the department asked for prosecutors’ help in solving the case.

Watkins, his prosecutors and Farmers Branch police refused to say what connected Pettigrew to the crime and what led to his arrest. Police searched a pond in connection with the case in June but authorities declined to say whether anything was found.

“We do have evidence that we think will lead to a conviction,” said Kevin Brooks, a top prosecutor in the DA’s office who will handle the case along with assistant district attorneys Brandon Birmingham, Mindy Sauter and Glen Fitzmartin.

Watkins said “there was new evidence and there were individuals we spoke to who provided that.”

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  • Sfa_iv_max50

    revCCBeasley

    over 3 years ago

    2944 Comments

    Good cold case effort.....

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    blucas80

    almost 4 years ago

    1002 Comments

    Outstanding!!!

  • Image038_max50

    mpd165

    almost 4 years ago

    58 Comments

    Farmers Branch was my first department and this was always like a black cloud hanging over us that everyone thought about, but very few talked about. I'm glad to see justice was finally served after all these years.

  • Alex_453_max50

    alex82

    almost 4 years ago

    2736 Comments

    Great job ! Hoo yah !

  • 1911a1_max50

    tjohnsonr18

    almost 4 years ago

    290 Comments

    Can't begin to say how happy I am the killer has been brought to justice. The wheels of justice turn slowly sometimes, but they work. Big thumbs up to the state of Texas law enforcement community and the D.A.'s office for not forgetting this officer's sacrafice !!!! R.I.P. Officer Tribble.
    Very well put. GOD BLESS Officer Tribble and his family.

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    almost 4 years ago

    4972 Comments

    Bump Retleo, Officer Tribble your soul may Rest Sir, May your family find Peace in this news.
    Outstandng work Texas PD, NEVER FORGET OUR FALLEN...

  • Police3_max50

    wasimtiger1

    almost 4 years ago

    274 Comments

    great job

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    Fantastic work,my Texas friends.

  • L_ae1b658846e2d300078fb1b39c85f297_max50

    Mark508

    almost 4 years ago

    248 Comments

    I work with Oficer Tribbles son, whom he would be proud of. Glad that they solved this murder of one of our own, and give closure to this family.

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    almost 4 years ago

    23294 Comments

    R.I.P. Brother. The "Big Sleep" to the scumbag responsible for this act.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mosinnagant

    almost 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    I was there, and I hope he gets a fair trial and then the needle.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50

    Jonas

    almost 4 years ago

    42212 Comments

    Yee Haa!!!!!!

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    almost 4 years ago

    11194 Comments

    Can't begin to say how happy I am the killer has been brought to justice. The wheels of justice turn slowly sometimes, but they work. Big thumbs up to the state of Texas law enforcement community and the D.A.'s office for not forgetting this officer's sacrafice !!!! R.I.P. Officer Tribble.

  • 082310163642_max50

    carlitoso2

    almost 4 years ago

    786 Comments

    Great work super!!!!!!!

  • 45089_396847393722850_1055776862_n_max50

    SuzanneNGa

    almost 4 years ago

    16562 Comments

    Astonishing work by the PD!

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