The state’s longest unsolved cop-murder case has been cracked – and the officer is from Farmers Branch.
August 27, 1983, 27 years ago, Farmers Branch Police Officer Lowell Tribble was on duty. He was also a father with a sick child. Tribble had just dropped off medicine. It would be the last time his wife would see him alive.
Minutes later shots rang out as Tribble drove near an apartment complex at Josey and the LBJ Freeway. Tribble’s squad car crashed in a drainage ditch, the officer had been cut down by a .45 caliber bullet.
“As far as I know, we had never had a policeman killed out here.” said former Farmers Branch Mayor Bob Phelps, who has lived in the Dallas County town since 1957. “It was a shock to the whole area.”
The case has haunted police, who were unable to piece together a case. It languished. It became the state’s longest unsolved murder of a police officer.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s office says a grand jury has returned a capital murder indictment. Gary Wayne Pettigrew was indentified by a cold-case unit that had reopened the file in 2007. Phelps recalls the crime as though it just happened. “There was a concern. I don’t know there was a panic.” he said. “It was a shock to the neighborhood, the city, I guess the whole area.”