Officer Lyle Wayne Larrabee, age 26, was killed in an automobile accident during a pursuit of a vehicle on January 1, 1962. A third vehicle pulled out in front of him during the pursuit, swerving to avoid a collision he lost control of his car crashing into a light standard at the corner of Indian Avenue and Tamarisk. He was immediately ejected from the cruiser which rolled over on him, he died a short time later at the hospital.
Officer Larrabee was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had been with the Palm Springs Police Department for one year. He is survived by his wife and mother.
Officer Gale Gene Eldridge, age 32, was on duty January 18, 1961, when he stopped a car for a traffic violation at approximately 7:45 in the evening. The driver told Officer Eldridge that he was on his way to a party on the "Reservation." The "Reservation" was a residential area located in the 200 block of South Indian Avenue.
Officer Eldridge allowed the driver to leave the scene and was alerted a short time later that this person was involved in a robbery in Banning. Gale called for a backup officer to meet with him in the "Reservation." Officer Quincy Welch responded to that request. Officer Eldridge drove down a separate street while Quincy came from another direction.
Officer Welch heard on the police radio that Gale had stopped the suspect and was out of the car investigating. A short time later, Officer Welch heard two gunshots. When Officer Welch arrived on the scene, he found Gale face down in his police car. Gale had been shot in the stomach. His gun was at his feet and had not been fired. Upon further investigation, the suspect was found in his car and he had been shot in the head. Two shots had been fired from the driver's gun.
It is speculation that Officer Eldridge had a brief struggle with the robber, who apparently shot Gale in the stomach. Gale was able to use the suspect's own gun to shoot him in the head. Both Gale and the suspect died at the scene.
Officer Eldridge is survived by his wife and thrree children : Gale, 13; Donna, 11 and Bobby, 5.
Since its inception, the Palm Springs Police Memorial Foundation has distributed thousands of dollars to police families by providing funding for the college education of dependents of officers killed in the line of duty.
Paying for medical, and funeral expenses and assisting with the special educational needs of children with learning disabilities and many other local charities as well as high school students interested in a career in law enforcement.
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