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Paris police officer killed 35 years ago remembered

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 11:01 PM CDT
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PARIS, Texas (KXII) - It was 35 years ago this week that a Paris police officer was shot while responding to an armed robbery call.

David Roberts was starting his shift around 6 am September 21, 1985 when Joe Tuttle, who worked the night shift the night before had just finished.

Roberts and Tuttle attended the same schools, played the same sports and stayed friends since they were young.

Just a few hours later, around 8 or 9 am Tuttle said, he got a call from his brother Randy telling him Roberts had been shot in a traffic stop.

“He wasn’t doing too good and the suspects were out in the northeast part of the county and we got a search party going and needed all help,”

Tuttle was among a group of officers sent out to find then men who shot Roberts.

“David was athletic, he was level-headed, it just didn’t seem like it made sense to us,” Tuttle said.

That morning Roberts had pulled over a car that was part of an armed robbery when a man jumped out and shot him in the neck and several times in the back.

“It was like a bad dream, it was a shock to all of us,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle says Roberts was a fantastic officer who did his job well and judging by his funeral he had the full support of the community.

“Paris shut down that day, on the day of the funeral the streets were lined with citizens," Tuttle said. “On the day of the funeral, the streets were lined with citizens, small school kids holding flags, out of town officers even.”

Five years later, in June of 1990, Tuttle married Roberts' wife Pam who was five months pregnant with Roberts' son David at the time Roberts was killed.

“I just felt like I needed to be there and help Pam out and to help with the baby,” Tuttle said. “I hope I’ve done my best, with little David, which he’s not little anymore. He’s turned out to be a good boy and it’s something that David would be proud of.”

A memorial for Roberts is on display north of Loop 286 and US 271 North built by local citizens. His hat is on display as well as at the police department.

Robert’s killers, Patrick Rogers and Willis Cooper, were arrested for his murder.

Cooper was given life in prison and Rogers was given the death penalty and executed back in June of 1997.

Copyright 2020 KXII. All rights reserved.

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