Thursday, January 10, 2008

Live and Let Live

I was on my way to take photographs of a minor crime scene when a shooting call was broadcast in my area. I was about 3 minutes away and raced to the scene. Witnesses called 911 to report a man shooting at a woman in an apartment complex parking lot.

I pulled onto the street behind my Sergeant and saw a body lying on the ground next to a parked vehicle. A car pulled up with a security guard who witnessed the incident. A Hispanic male just shot a woman 5 times; he left north into the apartment complex; he's wearing black shorts, a black t-shirt over a white t-shirt and has white shoes.

The helicopter is soon overhead as my squad mates take up perimeter positions all around the complex. A K9 officer arrives with his dog to begin a search. The security guard stays with me as I move to a corner perimeter position. He tells me how he saw a couple fighting in an SUV as it drove down the road. At a stoplight, the female passenger tried to get out of the SUV but the male driver pulled her back in by the hair. She screamed for help but the driver took off before anyone could do anything. The security guard followed them to the apartment complex. The driver got out of the vehicle, went around to the passenger side and opened her door. He leaned in, hugged her, and caressed her face. "Everything will be all right." he assured her.

He then took two steps back, pulled a handgun and shot her 4 or 5 times. The security guard feared for his life and drove off when the shooting started.

As I try to calm him down and get more details, the K9 officer comes over and asks the witness again for a description of the shooter. The security guard gives the description and the K9 officer seems somewhat relieved.

"What's up?" I ask the officer.
"Looks like the shooter did himself in."

The body I saw on the ground turned out to be the shooter himself. After killing the girl, he put a bullet in his own head. I took the guard over to the scene where he positively identified the dead male as the shooter.

When the detectives arrived I was able to get a close up look at the victim and the killer. She was slumped over in the passenger seat of the SUV with multiple fatal gunshot wounds. The young man had a large exit wound near his right temple. A handgun rested on the ground between his knees. They appeared to be in their early twenties.

The news media arrived soon after and set up multiple live broadcasts from the scene. News vans, lights, reporters, and cameramen massed outside the crime scene tape I strung from my patrol car.

I couldn't imagine how a relationship could end like this. The New Year is a time for change, resolution, and renewal. I found myself wondering if her New Year resolution was to improve her life by breaking up with this guy. If so, it's a shame they way he responded. Why can't people just live their own life and let others do the same?


At January 12, 2008 1:47 PM, Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I just don't get people sometimes. That is so tragic.

At January 12, 2008 6:44 PM, Blogger DirkStar said...

Thank God we have the right to bear arms against people like this...

At January 13, 2008 10:40 AM, Blogger Jim said...

I read this in the news all the time but reading directly from an officer's point of view has made it more impact on me on how serious it is that you face on a daily bases.

Thank you for sharing.

At January 13, 2008 6:27 PM, Blogger Minnesotablue said...

I have been reading your page and find it quite interesting. My brother has just recently retired after working for the Mpls police force. He started out as a patrolman on one of our most crime ridden areas of the city, was involved in our local college demonstrations during a riot filled summer, was a member of what we called the Tactical Squad ( today it is probably called by another name) were he went in during riots, standoffs etc. Then became a sargeant and in his last ten years he became the Range Master. I worked as an RN during this time and often had to deal with the victims. We have many long discussions about those years and I know the difficult and horrible situations you encounter. Keep up the good fight!

At January 14, 2008 10:39 PM, Blogger Aileen said...

I don't think we'll ever figure out what makes other people tick. God knows I could have been that girl in my early days. I was lost and thought a man was the answer to everything and trusted him against my gut. I had such a low self-esteem that I didn't think I could make a choice for myself. He'ld say "baby everything will be ok" and I'ld just say "ok". Could anyone have saved me? I doubt it. Many tried. I'm just thankful that I lived through some very painful and shameful times and made it out the other side.
I've been on the other side of the law too many times in the past. I respect what you do and I can honestly say I could never do your job. how do you seperate your job from your real life? How do you not drag the emotional baggage home? God bless you Gary. I enjoy reading your blog but some days I feel your pain. Much respect to you.

At January 23, 2008 8:20 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

Stupid. It is stupid.
As crazy as the wife1.0 made me, I never wanted to gun her down.

Good to know we have good officers out there though.


At January 24, 2008 12:22 PM, Blogger DirkStar said...

In an effort of bipartisan blogging I have come up with a way to help stimulate our economy faster than the tax rebate program just announced on C.N.N. News.

My proposal is bold, innovative and puts cash money into the hands of the American people when they need it the most; at this very minute.

Please help me to help America in its moment of greatest need.


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