YUCCA VALLEY — A retired detective and bomb technician will take a new look at the death of Frank Critzer, who lived beneath Giant Rock and was killed in an explosion during a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies in 1942.
Mike Digby will present “A Suicide Bombing at Giant Rock” at noon Nov. 15 at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum on Dumosa Avenue north of Twentynine Palms Highway.
Critzer, a 57-year-old engineer and eccentric, was known for two things: as the owner/operator of the Giant Rock airstrip in Landers and as the man who lived alone under the rock.
During World War II, Critzer, a German immigrant fell under suspicion by people who said he was a Nazi spy.
Deputies approached his home under Giant Rock and the dynamite that Critzer stored there somehow exploded. Critzer was killed immediately and three deputies were injured. But why?
Digby’s lecture will focus on a forensic evaluation and post-blast investigation as well as address the many rumors and inconsistencies about this case.
Digby retired as a detective and bomb technician after serving 34 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and seven years with the U.S. Army. He has provided bomb training to police and military organizations around the world.
He has also authored two books: “The Bombs, Bombers and Bombings of Los Angeles” (2016) and “A Bombing in the Wilshire-Pico District” (2018).
Listeners are invited to bring lunch to his lecture. Drinks will be served. Admission is $5, or free for museum members.
The lecture was made possible with support from California Humanities.