LA County Supervisors renewed $10,000 rewards Tuesday in the unsolved murders of a Long Beach Police officer shot in 1975, a man gunned down in front of a Long Beach convenience store in 2012 and a Long Beach City College football player shot in Willowbrook last summer.
Supervisor Don Knabe recommended renewing two of the rewards, each set to expire this week and now available for at least another 90 days.
In the case of Officer Franke Neal Lewis, the Long Beach Police Officers Association and the Fraternal Order of Police have offered an additional $40,000 in reward money and the city of Long Beach added $25,000 more, bringing the total to $75,000.
Lewis was shot about 3 a.m. on Dec.13, 1975, while intervening in an assault taking place near his home in the 6200 block of Cantel Street.
The officer had just arrived home from his shift and witnessed a man, later identified as Denis Gitschier, being attacked by an unidentified assailant. Lewis, who had been with the Long Beach police force for about two years, was shot in the face and died at the scene.
Gitschier, who said he was driving home and pulled off the freeway to sleep, was hospitalized for several days after the beating.
The assailant escaped with the officer’s gun, badge and police identification. The badge and ID were recovered on March 12, 1976, from a vacant residence at 915 S. Acacia Ave. in Compton, but the gun has not been found.
Police have described two potential suspect vehicles: a mid-1970s Cadillac Fleetwood with a blue body and a black top; and an early 1960s white Cadillac Fleetwood.
Officers renewed their investigation late last year and canvassed the area where the badge and ID were recovered.
Based on tips from the public, the LBPD released a composite sketch of a young man wanted for questioning in the case. The suspect was about 17 in 1975 and went by the name “Bobby.” He lived in the central Long Beach area and may have driven a 1970s Cadillac Fleetwood or Pontiac Bonneville that was blue with a black top.
The sketch reflects what the man would have looked like at the time of the shooting.
Police also described a second “person of interest” as a black woman between 18 and 20 years old who was known by the nickname “Spider.”
Anyone who recognizes “Bobby” or who knows the identity of “Spider” was urged to call homicide detectives Todd Johnson or Shea Robertson at (562) 570-7244 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477 (TIPS) or text TIPLA plus the tip information to 274637 (CRIMES).
The other reward extended for 90 days is for information in the slaying of 50-year-old Seaborn Mason, who was standing in front of a store in the 400 block of East South Street just after 11 p.m. on July 23, 2012, when someone shot him multiple times in the chest.
Investigators said surveillance video showed several people in the area at the time of the shooting, but no one reported hearing an argument or seeing a fight before shots were fired.
Mason’s family members and volunteers passed out fliers to alert neighbors to the reward when it was first approved and detectives have canvassed the neighborhood, but no one has come forward with a description.
Anyone with information relevant to the case was asked to call Long Beach homicide Detectives Malcolm Evans or Todd Johnson at (562) 570-7247.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended extending the reward in the case of 22-year-old Kejon Atkins, saying investigators believe there are witnesses who might know the identity of the gunman and his accomplices. The reward, set to expire July 24, will now be available for at least another 90 days.
Late on the morning of July 23, 2015, Atkins was walking along the 1800 block of East 126th Street when a gold or silver four-door sedan pulled alongside and a man opened fire through the car’s rear window.
Atkins was taken to St. Francis Medical Center and died four days later.
The gunman was described as being in his late teens to early 20s, with several tattoos on his back.
Surveillance cameras captured images of the getaway car as well as a two- tone, maroon/gray SUV, possibly a Pontiac Aztec, which might have been following along.
Anyone with more information was asked to call Detectives Theodor Baljet or Troy Ewing at (323) 890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
—City News Service