Officer Gary Elton Rippstein

Officer Gary Elton Rippstein

Torrance Police Department, California

End of Watch Sunday, December 22, 1968

Gary Elton Rippstein

Officer Rippstein was shot and killed as he and his partner attempted to arrest an auto-theft suspect. The officers were invited inside the home by the man's wife and were immediately fired upon by the suspect. Officer Rippstein was struck by one of the rounds and killed. His partner and other backup officers returned fire and killed the suspect.

Officer Rippstein had served with the Torrance Police Department for 6 years and was the agency's first police chaplain. He was survived by his wife and three children.


  • Age 29
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, December 21, 1968
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

View all 14 Reflections

I was remembering when I was a little girl (in 1968, I would have been 8 years old, so my memory is hazy) it was right before Christmas, and my dad, brother, and I were walking down to a bakery and ran into Gary Rippstein and his son. They were coming back from a Christmas tree lot and carrying their Christmas tree. We knew them from church and I remember they all were very nice people. A short time later, my parents told us that Mr. Rippstein had been killed at work. That was the first time I had ever experienced death and so I took note. A few months later, Mrs. Rippstein stood up at church and told everyone she and the kids were fine. It seems to me, she was holding a small child on her hip. The congregation was very upset. They moved shortly thereafter and we never saw them again. Every Christmas, I think of him. I hope after all these years, the family is doing well.

Dianna Ruddell, no rank.

December 9, 2017

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