The Long Beach City Council on Tuesday approved a $25,000 reward for information on the 1975 murder of Officer Franke Lewis, raising the reward total to $75,000.
“I think we owe it to our police officers, and this officer’s family in particular, to do all we can to find this officer’s killer and bring him to justice,” Councilman Al Austin said during the city council meeting.
The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) recently announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Lewis’ murder.
According to authorities, on December 13, 1975, Lewis was driving home at about 3:00AM after having completed his shift when he spotted suspicious activity in a car parked a few doors down from his Long Beach house in the 6200 block of Cantel Street, police said.
Investigators think Lewis parked his car and walked toward the disturbance to investigate and was shot as he approached.
The gunman had attacked a man named Denis Gitschier—a teacher at the time and graduate of Cal State Long Beach— who pulled off the freeway to sleep after feeling tired.
According to Gitschier, he was knocked unconscious after the first blow to his head. He had left his door unlocked, thinking no one would try to steal it while he was inside.
Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene.
Months later, on March 12, 1976, Lewis’ police badge, badge holder and identification were recovered from a vacant home on 1915 South Acacia Avenue in the city of Compton. His duty weapon remains outstanding, officials said.
Police officials recently announced two persons of interest and possible suspect vehicles connected to the murder.