Last night I missed a call from my Bro. He left a message which I didn't know about until 4 o'clock this morning. I always get mad when I miss his calls. I like talking to him and he usually has a great story for me. But as I listened to the message, I became a little worried.. I could hear that tone in his voice and knew he was rattled. He said, "Oh I was just calling to tell you an amusing story about how I just almost shot somebody." He's been working days mixed with some secondary bike patrol lately (at night)... so I knew he was sleeping by then and didn't want to wake him.
I called him early this morning when I knew he'd be back on the street and he told me what happened last night. Let me preface this whole thing by saying that my bro works in the MOST DANGEROUS city in the U.S.. Ok so much for anonymity, but whatever.
He was doing patrol in a very high crime area. His department puts in a lot of requests for officers to work secondary shifts as "Ghetto Foot Soldiers".
So a call came to him for a report of a prowler/suspicious person. Just so happened my bro was right at that very location and happened to look up and see a guy matching the suspect's description walking away from him with one hand in his pocket.
Bro called out to the guy, "Hey man, take your hands out of your pocket and come here so I can talk with you." .... Guy kept walking away without acknowledging bro.
Bro follows him on his bike and again calls out the same command. Guy kept walking away.
This went for nearly a block and finally bro got mad and ditched his bike in the street and unholstered and walked up closer to the guy.
The guy sort of casually glanced back at bro and kept walking.. then it registered and the guy turned all the way around quickly with eyes like dinner plates and suddenly pulled his hand out of his pocket and raised it up in the air......
.....and that's when he removed his earphones.
Thanks to bro's cool-as-a-cucumberness he didn't shoot the guy. It was so sudden bro barely had time to make the right choice.
The guy nearly had a heart attack - and bro then questioned why the guy was walking at night in that neighborhood. It's a predominantly African-American community, but as my brother jokingly put it, the guy was "about as black as Wayne Brady."
Anyway, long and short, the guy checked out ok and bro had no reason to detain him. Bro politely pointed out that if a police officer with a gun was behind him for a city block without him noticing, he'd hate to see what would happen if some thugs tried to rob him.
It turned into a major joke at his station--"Oh no look out for the guy with the ipod...". But in all reality the guys knew it was a tough situation which could have ended tragically. His department has had so much violence and loss this year alone, nobody takes things too lightly.
In March an officer was killed in a car accident while pursuing a burglary suspect. He was a former Marine and served in Iraq. He left behind his newly-wed wife.
In May an officer was shot EIGHT times by a .40 while conducting a traffic stop at a busy gas station. He survived and even gave a thumbs up when being wheeled into the trauma center. I suppose it was no shock to him, seeing as he'd been shot in major firefight as a Marine in Iraq the previous year. For that he received a purple heart. For his bravery in the on-duty incident which almost killed him, he received the medal of valor and officer of the year award.
In October two of his co-workers were shot on a routine traffic stop by the car's passenger.. all because the guy said he hates the police and wanted to kill them. Thankfully both officers survived, but one is STILL in rehab and has had three strokes. He's trying to talk again but isn't there yet.
On Saturday morning one of their Sergeants committed suicide on patrol, with his duty weapon. He leaves behind a wife and kids. He had been on the force 16 years.
More news.. which is saddening and frustrating. One of the Det. Sgts. in my father-in-law's department got shot in the face the other night. He was doing surveillance in a neighboring shithole when a guy walked up and opened the car door.. he saw the computers and realized it was a police officer and shot him in the face. Failed carjacking, but successful assault 1st on a LEO, ACA and all the other good stuff.
By the grace of God, the officer was able to pull his head back just far enough from the revolver that the shot under the chin did nothing but blow out some teeth. Completely missed major arteries and structures as well as the brain.
This particular officer is very near and dear to our family. He has been a friend of hubs for 26 years.
He is going to survive, but right now the suspect is still at large. Manhunt is underway.
Please pray for this and all these officer's families that they can somehow manage to salvage an enjoyable Christmas this year.
Here is hoping for a much brighter, happier and SAFER 2011.