Not all shootings are like the movies

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On Saturday night I had the pleasure of having my son on another ride along. He would go out with me every night if he could because he wants to be an officer.

The first two hours of my shift were spent trying to catch up on my paperwork. My son was like a caged lion that was pacing back and forth in the office. Every so often he’d ask when we were going outside. Each time I said,  “When I’m done.”

For some reason, the night was unusually slow and he was itching to see action. As the hours ticked away toward EOW(end of watch) the chances of action were slipping through his fingers.

At about 1:30AM we met two of my friends at a legendary taco place for some food. My son was having fun listening to guy talk, but he wanted to get back into the police car. I could also tell he was getting tired because he had been up all day.

That’s when that sleepy eyed look sprang to life when a shooting call went out. We were only about two blocks away from the call so we headed that way.

As we left the restaurant my son was walking fast and leaving me behind as he went toward our car. I pointed out to him it didn’t matter how fast he got to the car because I was the one driving.

While we were en-route, an officer broadcasted over the radio that the victim was shot in the arm and was uncooperative.

We were the fifth car on scene as we drove into a rundown neighborhood that had seen better days in the 1950s. The apartment buildings were in disrepair and tired looking. There was graffiti spray painted all over the walls as a reminder that gang members believed this patch of concrete belonged to them.

We got out of the car and walked up to the victim, who was lying in the grass in front of an apartment complex. He had a shaved head and was wearing the trade mark baggy white t-shirt and dark pants of a gang member.

An officer was applying pressure to the wound as we waited for the fire department to arrive. My son stood next to me as he watched everything that was going on and being said. He was like a sponge at that moment taking it all in. If only he would listen to my wife with that much attention.

After a little while we left because there was nothing to do. As we drove away my son said, “I thought there would be more blood.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, I also thought he would be in more pain. It’s not like the movies.”

“Sometimes there is more blood. It just depends on where the person gets shot,” I told him.

He then made me laugh as he said, “You really have to be ghetto if you won’t even tell the cops who shot you.”

“Some of these guys won’t say anything when they’re shot,” I replied.

“You guys were so calm. It was like you see that every day.” I couldn’t help but smile at that. It’s true. That stuff really does becomes “normal” after a while on this job. It’s just part of this crazy journey called police work.

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