Around 6:30 pm, Policeman Cribb and Policeman Grover Thompkins were shopping in Sam’s Red & White grocery store on the corner of Camp and Folly Road in James Island. Two males entered the store and demanded money from the store manager and a cashier in the front of the store. A customer ran to the two off-duty police officers who were in the back of the store to inform them of the robbery.
Both officers rushed to the front of the store to confront the robbers. Cribb was armed and Thompkins was not. As they challenged the armed men, a third armed man entered the store and shot Policeman Cribb in the back of the neck. As Cribb fell, one of the other gunmen shot him in the chest. Cribb died near the front door.
Thompkins retrieved Policeman Cribb’s weapon and fired at the fleeing robbers, one thought to be injured, and with $5000 of the store’s money.
According to the old case file, the killers ran out of the store with cash soaked in Policeman Cribb’s blood, never to be seen again. Composite drawings of the suspects failed to flush out any leads.
Policeman Cribb was survived by his wife, daughter and parents.
William Thomas Cribb’s name has been engraved on the South Carolina Law Enforcement Memorial on the Statehouse grounds in Columbia. His name has been also engraved at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC, located on panel 29, E -14. A plaque bearing Policeman Cribb’s name is displayed at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame in Columbia.