LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Detectives hope a $50,000 reward will help locate the killer of a Long Beach Police officer, 40 years after the crime was committed.
Officer Franke Lewis was gunned down in 1975 as he was trying to save the life of another man. That man was Denis Gitschier, who was nearly beaten to death as he slept inside his car.
"What do you say to someone who saved your life, and loses his" Gitschier asked. "There are no words that describe that."
Lewis had just gotten home around 3 a.m. after his shift on December 13 when he witnessed the attack on Gitschier. He was shot and killed as he approached.
"I was unconscious, it's as simple as that. There is nothing to remember," Gitschier said. "I wouldn't have survived if he didn't come when he did."
Gitschier, who long had the desire to thank the fallen officer's family, tracked down the emails of Lewis' two daughters. They met in person for the first time in 2010, and they stood together on Tuesday as Long Beach Police announced the $50,000 reward for information to help solve the murder.
Additionally, the department released images of two of the vehicles spotted in the area on that night, hoping to jog someone's memory.
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