Exactly 30 years after Wilson County deputy Ollie Childress was killed during a bank robbery in LaVernia, his granddaughter, only a toddler when he died, will help to finally retire his badge during a 10 a.m. ceremony Monday at the Criminal Justice Center in Floresville.
Tracy Childress, now a Guadalupe County dispatcher and trainer, said Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt asked her to join him in the “last call” over a patrol car radio.
She said is it is a rare honor for any licensed law enforcement officer.
“It’s hard to do for one of your own deputies, but to do it for him will be even harder,” Childress said.
Her grandfather had stopped two suspects who overpowered Childress on Nov. 4, 1983.
One even walked into the bank wearing his uniform shirt and badge as he lay trapped in the trunk of his patrol car.
Before making their getaway, after shooting Childress once, they returned and shot him again.
The robbers, Leroy Sosa is serving a life sentence, and his uncle, Pedro Sosa, remains on death row for Childress’ murder.
Roger Childress, the deputy’s oldest son, said most of his father’s family has since passed away, waiting for Sosa’s execution.
Sosa has filed numerous appeals based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that executing mentally challenged prisoners was cruel and unusual punishment.
Tracy Childress said she hopes that Monday’s ceremony that will include the unveiling of a memorial, an honor guard and public dignitaries, will help to heal many of those traumatized by what occurred 30 years ago.
She said several of the bank employees who were there, will be at the ceremony.
Childress says she’s grateful to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office for helping to organize the event.
She said, “I wanted it for my dad and my uncle, they deserve to see him honored.”