Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Patrolman William Thomas Cribb

Charleston County Police Department, South Carolina

End of Watch Friday, November 15, 1974

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Patrolman William Thomas Cribb

After 45 years, S.C. police officer’s killing remains unsolved
Posted on Live 5 News November 24, 2019

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It has been four-and-a-half decades since a Charleston County Police officer was gunned down during a grocery store robbery.

The shooting happened at the Sam's Red & White on James Island, which has long-since shut down.

To this day, investigators are still hoping his killers will be found and brought to justice.

It was Nov. 15, 1974, at Sam’s Red & White store on James Island. Two off-duty Charleston County Police officers had stopped by the store to shop.

Police said the scene turned from a casual shopping trip into a battle for life and death at approximately 6:30 p.m. when two men armed with guns walked into the store.

A scream alerted the officers to trouble.

“They confronted the individuals and they got into a fight there,” Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said during a 2010 interview.

During the fight, a third man who had apparently been acting as a lookout shot Cribb.

“He shot Bill Cribb in the neck and basically incapacitated him,” Cannon said. “He fell to his knees.”

One of the other robbers shot Cribb in the chest. The 29-year-old officer was pronounced dead at an area hospital a short time later.

According to the old case file, the killers ran out of the store with cash soaked in Cribb’s blood, never to be seen again.

The Officer Down Memorial Page states Cribb’s fellow officer, who was not armed at the time, grabbed Cribb’s gun and fired at the robbers but they escaped.

Investigators process the crime scene at Sam's Red & White on Nov. 15, 1974.

Composite drawings of the suspects failed to flush out any leads.

Cannon was a North Charleston Police officer at the time of Cribb’s killing. He worked with then-Charleston County Police officer Mickey Whatley on the case, but it eventually went cold.

In 2010, private investigator Howie Comen convinced Cannon to reopen the case in the hopes that new attention might uncover new leads.

They went back to the scene of the crime, the old store that had long been vacant, to examine the scene against witness statements.

Cannon said it was possible the killers may have fled from Charleston to New York City. In the 1970s, Cannon said many criminals in the Charleston area had connections to the Big Apple. It’s even possible the men were part of a gang that was moving through town, which means the men may not have been from the area or may never have returned since.

The late Winifred Cribb recalled the night her son, Charleston Police officer William Cribb, was killed.

In April 2010, months before her own death, Cribb’s 86-year-old mother, Winifred, recalled the night of her son’s murder, remembering it as if it had happened just days earlier.

“My son Jack called me and told me,” she said. “He said, ‘There’s been a policeman killed at the Red and White and they think it might be Bill.’ I said, ‘Oh, no,’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ I found out it was Bill and I’ll tell you, I have never forgotten that night. The most awful night of my life was when that child got killed. I’ll always remember him.”

She said he had just recently visited her home before his death.

“He talked and he said, ‘I’ll see you later,’ but I never got to see him later,” she said.

Cribb left behind a pregnant wife and a three-year-old daughter. Cribb's mother had to set aside her own grief to break the horrible news to Cribb's young child.

“She was standing right there on those steps and cried for Bill,” Cribb said of her granddaughter. “Oh, that broke my heart because I knew he was gone.”

She said she hoped for the opportunity to confront them to ask: “Why would you do it? Why did you have to kill my son? Why?”

Winifred Cribb died in June 2010, 36 years after her son’s death, without ever seeing his killers brought to justice and without ever getting to ask those persistent questions.

“This is a perfect example of a case where there was tremendous pressure outside and internal pressure to find the people that committed this murder,” Cannon recalled. “The more time goes by, the more difficult it becomes.”

Anyone who thinks they may recognize anyone in the sketches or who may know something about the killing should contact the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office at 843-743-7200 or Crime Stoppers of the Lowcountry at 843-554-1111.

Retired Police Officer
NYPD

November 24, 2019

Yo, Brah:

It has been nearly 41 years. I quit LAPD back in Year 2008, and I returned to life as “A Lazy Surfing Beach Bum.” Yet, I still think about the fact that Your murder remains unsolved (Sigh).

May You Rest-In-Peace

Semper Fi,
“Major Pain”

Michael B. Parlor

September 13, 2015

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

September 15, 2014

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 36th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
mom of fallen officer Larry Lasater

November 15, 2010

As my career's end is coming closer, I decided to check and find those who had lost their lives during the month & year that I was hired. While it's been many years since your passing, I'm sure those you left behind and those whom with you served with distinction have kept you alive in their memories. Thank you for your service and for looking out for us who continue in our chosen profession. Rest in peace Patrolman Cribb.

Sgt. Robert Mau Sr.
PD Joliet IL

December 19, 2008

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

November 28, 2007

Patrolman Cribb:

Well, I am still here in Los Angeles (taking one day at a time). I shared Your story today with one of my former recruits, who is now a Field Training Officer here in Southeast.

33 years, and I can still remember how as a teenager, I would watch You as You drove by patrolling our neighborhood. Tonight, a felow Cowboy and I will be making a toast in Your honor at a local "watering hole."

Look down upon the men and women serving Charleston County and nudge them as they begin to make any mistakes...

Maj M. B. Parlor
USMC / LAPD

November 15, 2007

Patrolman Cribb you are a hero. It has been thirty-three years since the end of your watch and you are not forgotten. May God continue to bless you. Even though your killers were not caught, they will face God and receive their punishment. Rest in peace my brother.

State Constable J.L. Green
S.C. State Constables

November 15, 2007

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Sergeant
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept.

July 10, 2007

Patrolman Cribb:

Today, I discussed You with some of the LAPD cops. I try not to dwell upon the fact that the murdering swine seem to still be unpunished. However, I know from years of personal observation that those who do evil do get punished (even if we are not there to see it).....

Maj M. B. Parlor
USMC / LAPD

May 7, 2007

I used to give Patrolman CRIBB a wave, each time he passed by on his way home. I entered the LAPD Academy 10 years after his murder, and more than 20 years later, I can't think of a class that I have taught regarding off-duty tactics, where I did not mention Patrolman CRIBB. RIP William Thomas CRIBB. There are some of us who shall never forget......Semper Fi, M. B. P.

Maj M. B. Parlor
USMC / LAPD

August 14, 2006

11-15-03, MAY GOD BLESS YOU MY BROTHER. YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. MAY YOUR KILLERS KNOW THAT SOMEDAY THERE WILL BE A JUDGEMENT DAY AND YOUR MURDER WILL BE DEALT WITH ACCORDINGLY. REST IN PEACE MY BROTHER.

CHIEF RONNIE WATFORD-RETIRED
JEFFERSON POLICE DEPT,S.C.

November 15, 2003

Even though I was not even born yet when you died, the facts of your case and the fact that your killers were never caught still disturbs me. People still know your name and your sacrifice. And as time wears on, the likelyhood of catching your killer becomes less and less but know that who we could not catch here on earth is known and will be judged by God. And as one of His faithful servants, I can only hope you will be there to see your killer's final punishment. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten.

PFC E.R. Miller
Mt. Pleasant Police

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.