BURBANK -- It has been 15 years since an off-duty police officer was
killed in the city, but Burbank Police aren’t giving up on the unsolved
Thursday marked the 15th anniversary of the shooting death of Los
Angeles County sheriff’s deputy and longtime Burbank resident Charles
Anderson. Shortly after midnight on Jan. 24, 1987, the 35-year-old father
was killed as he put his son to bed in their home in the 1700 block of
West Oak Street.
After several police and sheriff’s department investigations, and
thanks to the advent of DNA technology, Burbank Police are still looking
for Anderson’s killer.
“This case has always haunted us,” said Burbank Police Lt. Tim Stehr,
who is overseeing the investigation. “This is the only off-duty officer
who has been shot in Burbank, and it’s never been solved.”
Since the slaying, the case has been reviewed four times. Binders of
paperwork, reports and evidence still sit at the department. The gun used
in the killing has not been found.
“We’re hoping somebody will talk,” Stehr said. “We need that one piece
of evidence that will give us the information that will put the killer
On the night of the killing, Anderson came home with his wife, Beth,
and two children, police said. As he carried his 5-year-old son to bed,
his wife apparently remained in the car with the couple’s 1-year-old to
collect some items inside. She told police she heard gunshots and ran to
a neighbor’s home for help.
“It’s been difficult for us to clarify what happened because
[Anderson’s wife] has not allowed us to interview her again,” Stehr said.
Police originally thought Anderson walked in on a burglary, but that
theory is changing.
In the late 1990s, a tip prompted a yearlong investigation by two
detectives. No one was arrested at that time in connection with the
“There were indications that the murder was by someone close to the
victim,” Stehr said, though he declined to elaborate.
Former neighbors find the shift in thinking surprising.
“I find that hard to believe because of the way they were as a
family,” former neighbor Linda Palmowska said, adding the friendly couple
had frequent visitors.
Asked if she was frustrated with the case, Beth Anderson paused.
“I’m frustrated that my husband is not here with me to raise his
children,” she said.
Meanwhile, Anderson’s older sister and Burbank resident, Trish
Belisle, remains hopeful.
“I would really like to have it solved,” she said. “We’ve been so
close we can taste it. But still, until somebody comes forward and gives
more information, it’s going to stay like it is.”
Anyone with information about the slaying is asked to call Burbank
Police detectives at 238-3210.