Officer Gale Gene Eldridge
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: January 18, 1961
Weapon Used: Handgun
Suspect Info: Shot and killed
Officer Gale Eldridge was on duty when he stopped a car for a traffic violation at approximately 7:45 in the evening. The driver told Officer Eldridge that he was on his way to a party on the “Reservation.” The “Reservation” was a residential area located in the 200 block of South Indian. Officer Eldridge allowed the driver to leave the traffic stop scene. Officer Eldridge was alerted a short time later that this same person was involved in a robbery in Banning. Eldridge called for a backup to meet with him in the “Reservation.” Palm Springs Police Department Officer Quincy Welch responded to the request. Officer Eldridge drove down one street while Officer Welch approached from a separate direction. Officer Welch overheard on the radio that Eldridge had stopped the suspect and was out of his patrol car investigating. A short time later Officer Welch heard two gunshots. When Officer Welch arrived on the scene, he found Officer Eldridge face down in his police car. Officer Eldridge had been shot in the stomach. His gun was at his feet and had not been fired. Upon further investigation, the suspect was found in his own car and he had been shot in the head. Two shots had been fired from the driver’s gun. It is speculation that Officer Eldridge had a brief struggle with this suspect. The driver apparently shot Eldridge in the stomach. Eldridge was able to use the suspect’s own gun to shoot him in the head. Both Eldridge and the suspect died at the scene. Officer Gale Eldridge was 32-years-old when he died. He was a father of three children, Gale, 13; Donna, 11; and Bobby, 5.
Officer Edridge’s burial site is not known.