A bullet from a Tulsa Police officer's handgun returns to Tulsa via Arizona

Friday, February 4th 2005, 11:11 am
By: News On 6

A bullet makes a 30-year journey back to Tulsa. The bullet that was fired from a Tulsa Police officer's gun in a 1975 shoot-out came full circle Friday, when it was given back to the officer.

The suspect, who got away that night, has carried that bullet in his chest for 30 years. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright follows the bullet's trail in this unusual tale.

Bob Crowe tells amazing stories from his 20 years on the force and he remembers them like yesterday, even though he's been retired for 17 years. He especially remembers the night he and a partner got into a shoot-out with three armed robbers at a Tulsa pharmacy in 1975. "The one in front had a toy gun, the one in back had a butcher knife and the one I fired at ran around the side of the building and jumped into a van and the next shot I fired was at the right, rear tire.”

His partner hit one of the robbers. The other two suspects got away. One was arrested the next day, but his brother, Johnny Lamb, never did caught, even though Bob thought he'd wounded him.

Officer Crowe was pretty sure he'd hit the suspect, and they found a shirt in this alley the next day with a hole in it. But Crowe had no way of knowing that for the next 30 years, that suspect would carry that bullet in his chest. Turns out, Johnny Lamb's serving life in an Arizona prison. He slipped and cut his chest on a rock a couple weeks ago and the bullet fell out. He admitted it was from the Tulsa shoot-out all those years before.

The prison folks sent the bullet to Tulsa's Police chief, who gave it back to Officer Crowe. He plans to pass it on to his son, who is also a Tulsa Police officer. He was only 10 at the time of the shooting. Tulsa Police Cpl Dave Crowe: "As kids you play cops and robbers and my dad was a cop and that night, he shot a robber, so we thought it was cool."

Corporal Crowe wears his father's badge number and carries his father's weapon in the honor guard.

When Officer Bob Crowe came on the force, officers had to buy their own guns and even handcuffs. He was making $440 a month to support a wife and four kids. Bob Crowe still works. This weekend he is working at the boat show at the Tulsa County fairgrounds.