Slain policeman's family, friend recall his boyhood, his easy grin

SUNNYMEAD – He wouldn’t have wanted all the fanfare, the parents of Paul Carrol Teel said Tuesday after the funeral of their 25-year-old policeman son who was shot to death from ambush Friday.

W.B. “Dub” and Velma Teel said, “He would have blushed in embarrassment – the funeral, all they did – but he would have been pleased to see it for someone else.”

Paul and his partner, Leonard Christiansen, were shot to death when they answered a call. Four suspects are being sought.

The Teels and many relatives, friends and neighbors had just returned from the funeral in Riverside that was attended by about 1,500 persons. With them were Callie, Paul’s wife, and his best friend, Officer Paul Harding.

They wanted to talk about Paul, whom the Teels and Callie had always called Carrol and still do. It was not until he joined the Riverside Police Department in August, 1966, that others began calling him Paul.

At first, it was difficult talking about Carrol, but gradually they found they could smile as they recalled his youth.

His youngest son was born July 20, 1945, in Ft. Worth, Texas, Teel said.

“He was such a fine boy – always a smile. He had so many friends – all kinds of people liked him,” his father said. The others agreed.

The Teels, both teachers, moved to a small Texas town to teach school. They were the only teachers so they taught their two sons – David is the older – at home and at school.

“The boys had guns and they used to hunt,” Dub said. “Mostly jackrabbits,” said Mrs. Teel.

When they ran out of grades for the boys at the school in Texas the Teels moved to Sunnymead. That was in 1956.

“Carrol went to Edgemont School for a year. He won a $5 prize for this American Legion Americanism essay." And he won $5 from the PTA for suggesting a name for their paper, the EPTA Echo. "They don’t have the paper anymore," said Mrs. Teel, who teaches first grade there.

Callie was in school there at the time, but they scarcely knew each other.

“Last year, he came and talked to my class.”

Carrol went to University Heights Junior High School and then Poly High (there were only two elementary schools in Moreno Valley at that time).

Since he had to ride the bus to and from school he couldn’t take part in extra-curricular activities.

“But he worked. First he delivered the Daily Enterprise. He won a trophy for 15 months of perfect service,” Dub said.

Officer Paul Harding sits with Officer 
          Paul "Carrol" Teel's wife, Callie, during the graveside service.  Seated to Officer 
          Harding's right are Officer Teel's parents, Mr. W.B. “Dub” and Mrs. Velma Teel“And he never missed a day of work, no matter what his job was,” his mother was proud to add.

“He played in Little League all the way through, and after that he played in a church league. He won the trophy for sportsmanship,” Dub said.

“That’s where I met him and we started going together,” Callie added. Her maiden name was Cross and her home was in Edgemont. She was 14 and he was 16.

They dated for two years and then were married May 1, 1964.

“I remember how he told about his mother’s new bed and he wasn’t supposed to sit on it, so when no one was home he’d go into the bedroom and lie down on it,” Callie said.

“He used his bike to deliver papers and when he was old enough to drive a car he never rode the bike again. He liked to work on cars,” his father said.

“He was such a good driver that when he went to the northwest on a trip and he drove, Velma wouldn’t let me drive again,” he said. “Through the mountains,” she added.

“Remember how he liked to eat honey and it upset him when you put it in the refrigerator?” Dub asked his wife.

They gave him some honey in a bee-shaped container and they still have this memento.

“It almost fell off the shelf during the earthquake.”

“He loved maraschino cherries and he used to pick them off everyone’s sundaes and one time he ate a whole bottle of them and got sick,” Callie recalled.

“He had so many friends – always had some place to go,” his father said.

“He likes to work. He worked at Eggers Ranch up on Perris Boulevard for three years. He wanted to buy everything for himself,” Dub said, “but sometimes I’d get him a pair of Levis.”

After he was graduated from high school in 1963 Carrol went to work for the University of California, Riverside, experimental farm in Moreno Valley. He did a This memorial was dedicated to 
          Officers Teel and Christiansen at the Riverside Sheriff's Academy.variety of things there and “sometimes came home pretty dirty. But he never missed a day.”

“He was taking classes at the Sheriff’s Academy and was in the top five in his class,” his mother said.

“You know, all the men on his father’s side are ministers, missionaries or teachers,” Mrs. Teel said. “His uncle in Argentina phoned us an hour before the funeral.”

“His grandparents live in Texas, Mr. and Mrs. I.G. Hollingsworth,” she added.

“We played poker together a lot,” said Pete Harding, Carrol’s best friend.

Callie said Carrol had wanted a motorcycle for two years and she’d finally agreed. “He came home early Friday with the check to buy it and he was going to get it Saturday.”

“We were going to go riding on Saturday,” said Pete.

Pete added, “How can you say it – he was a gentleman. Gentle.”

I carried a ruler in my purse when we went to church on Sunday – that’s when they were little boys – and all I had to do was open the purse and they’d quit acting up. It’s the teacher in me, I guess,” his mother said. “But they were well behaved. Real boys.”

“Carrol had a good sense of humor, but it was a dry wit.”

He always smiled. And if someone asked what he was smiling about he “looked like a cat that swallowed the canary. He had a real pleasant grin. He had his own private thoughts and you wouldn’t know what was on his mind.”

“When he got married he found out his friends had painted the car and he sent his bother to wash the paint off,” Callie said.

“He didn’t have particularly good marks in school,” Dub said, “but when he got on the police force he rally buckled down.

“You know, that night they couldn’t find Callie. She was out here helping some friends move. And we got a call from (a friend) who thought we knew – about eleven o’clock,” Carrol’s father said.& “We got dressed and went to the hospital in Riverside. We didn’t know.”

Other survivors include seven uncles: James Teel, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Carrol B. Teel, Woodland; Alman Teel, Los Palos; Oren Teel, Fresno; Billy Joel Hollingworth, Electra, Texas; Myrel Hollingworth, Farmington, New Mexico, and Eugene Hollingworth, Wanatche, Washington, and four aunts, Mrs. Opal Alexander, Sundown, Texas; Mrs. Mary Hynk, Ft. Worth, Texas; Mrs. Edith Richey, Redondo Beach, and Mrs. Myrtle Harbison, Austin, Texas.

The Press, Thursday, April 8, 1971, Weezy Wold, Press-Enterprise Staff Writer

A memorial to Officer Christiansen and Officer Teel stands to the front of the Orange Street police station in downtown Riverside.

Riverside Police Department Safe In His Arms Memorial